Fields of Fire Book Review Essay

1264 Words May 11th, 2013 6 Pages
Tyler Yancey
American History, Period 1
Fields of Fire
2013 February 22
Review of Fields of Fire Fields of Fire by James Webb is a historical novel first published in 1978 that takes place in the year 1969 during the Vietnam War. Although there are many characters that are significant to the story, the novel focuses mainly on three marines who find themselves in a platoon with each other; Robert E. Lee Hodges, “Snake,” and Will “Senator” Goodrich. Webb gives the reader a great, detailed background of each of these characters through a combination of both direct and indirect characterization. As the novel progresses, major events that occur include battle and violence, loss and coping, and learning. The themes that naturally
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Webb’s educational background helps to show, with the help of his military profile, that he is more than qualified to proficiently write on the subjects discussed in his novel, Fields of Fire. James Webb focuses on three main characters in his novel: Robert E. Lee Hodges, “Snake,” and Will “Senator” Goodrich. The inspiration for these three characters seems to be not the life of any particular historical figure, but rather the common backgrounds of real soldiers who served in Vietnam in general. Characters in the novel are most often developed only after their initial introduction into the story. After introducing a character to the reader, Webb will often follow this introduction with the story of the characters life before the military and how or why he decided to enlist. Those characteristics not mentioned at his introduction or those that change are typically revealed during or after intense, traumatic events, such as near-death experiences or witnessing the death of a friend. Although the novel centers on only three characters, these three characters represent highly prominent reasons that American’s had for enlisting; to continue a family legacy and protect his family’s honor, to escape the steep decline and unhappiness of his life, and by accident or unwillingly being drafted. In this novel, the characters are what really embody and portray the main themes. Robert E. Lee Hodges claims that he is fighting to carry on his family’s
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