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Oliver Stone's Platoon and David Halberstams's The Making of a Quagmire: An Analysis of the Burning Village - Essay Example

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Oliver Stone’s Platoon and David Halberstam’s The Making of a Quagmire: An Analysis of the Burning Village Vietnam War, one of the most significant war events in history, had inspired many researches as well as artistic presentations including movies and books…
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Oliver Stones Platoon and David Halberstamss The Making of a Quagmire: An Analysis of the Burning Village
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"Oliver Stone's Platoon and David Halberstams's The Making of a Quagmire: An Analysis of the Burning Village"

Download file to see previous pages Platoon, for instance, is a depiction of Oliver Stone’s exposure to the Vietnam War as he participated in the war himself during his early years. On the other hand, The Making of a Quagmire, is the product of Halberstam’s work as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War (Navasky). In this sense, it can be said that the two works have similarities as those represent a single event in history in the perspective of someone who directly participated in the war. The adverse effects of Vietnam War had been felt by soldiers, both Americans and Vietnamese. War is the ultimate reality of life as it represents humanity’s struggle for existence. It also brings about the true nature of a human being because, in their struggle for survival, they are oftentimes confronted by situations where they need to decide either to die and let other people live or kill to survive (Berardinelli). For instance, the burning of villages signifies the cruelty of war, and it brought out the attitudes of the soldiers toward those who are weak and helpless. Although war seems like a heroic and gratifying adventure, the sense of self-fulfillment in wars can only be achieved through violence. Wars had been and will always be associated with violence and death. The idea that war is the source of violence, death and corruption of the human soul is the theme of Platoon and The Making of a Quagmire (Cannon). While the movie and the book share a common setting, Vietnam during the war in 1967-68, those are also similar to the way the story is narrated. The movie and book are narrated in first person point of view which makes both works personal. Viewers and readers are able to understand the war in the perspective of Halberstam (The Making of a Quagmire) and Chris Taylor (Platoon) (Ebert). As the book and the movie suggest, war is a form of violence, not a stereotypical and gratifying heroic adventure. The most striking event, both in the book and movie, is when the soldiers burned a civilian village (Halberstam 70-72). The burning village symbolizes the cruelty of war. War affects the emotional stability and rationality of the soldiers as it made them ill-tempered and unreasonably angry. Additionally, wars, as depicted in the burning village scene, affected the morality of the soldiers as they ransacked the village without reason. The village, essentially, signifies civilization, and the soldiers represent the destructive force of war. In the first part of the movie, Chris concluded that war is hell: “Hell is the impossibility of reason. That’s what this place feels like. I hate it already, and it’s only been a week” (Halberstam 70-72). These words by Chris, in his letter to his grandmother, described war with direct words. This also depicts the attitudes of the soldiers; they tend to demonstrate their strength to the weak and helpless. Thus, the burning village signifies what men will become in the face of war; they tend to deviate from the values of a civilized person. Aside from this, the burning village is the most critical part of the movie as it delves on the emotions of the soldiers. For instance, when Chris met the farmer’s son, he was angry because the boy just laughed at him. On the other hand, Bunny, seeing Chris unable to kill the helpless boy, killed the boy himself without any remorse. When the pillage ended, and the platoon decided to pursue their mission, Chris saw the other soldiers ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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