Monday, June 20, 2011

The Killer Angels Paper

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“The killer Angels” my feelings on this book are the same since the first day I sat down to read or look over it. I would have to say that this book was put together more as a way to describe the emotional and psychological aspect of war rather then the actual fighting and killing. This book deals with the struggle of fighting your own friends and family in this war. I also believe it to be an account of the war as tragic and somehow made ‘sacred’ by the enormity of the courage, suffering, and sacrifice. If you do not win the battle or war was it even worth it?

When I first heard the title “The Killer Angels” on a handout presented to me I had no idea what to expect. The subject to Michael Shaara’s book is not at all evident in the title. When I finally got my hands on the actual book itself and read through its chapters is that I realized what that title actually meant. Sharra tells of a war where it is clear that many of its men are almost fighting a war inside themselves to fight a war against there own brothers. I good example of this thought is present in a quote Sharra presented to us in the forward from Robert E. Lee. It says

With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen. I have not been able to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army….

With this quote from a letter, it is very clear that Robert E. Lee could not stand the fact that he has to fight against people from his own family and that he has to do it on his homeland. It also sounds as if this war, by many does not even want to be fought. In Monday, June , 186 Chamberlain episode this line explains why many of the men are there fighting.

Custom Essays on The Killer Angels Paper

Some of us volunteered to fight for the Union. Some came in mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came… because it was the right thing to do. All of us have seen men die. Most of us never saw a black man back home. We think on that, too. But freedom… is not just a word.

With that line in mind it sounds as if many of the men there are not even the least bit concerned with the actual meaning of the war. It sounded to me like a game of “follow the leader”. If he goes then I should go as well. This line also in Chamberlain episode makes it sound as if many of the men are new to the meaning of the war or at least confused.

This is a different kind of army. If you look at history you’ll see men fight for pay, or women, or some other kind of loot. They fight for land, or because a king makes them, or just because they like killing. But we’re here for something new. I don’t … this hasn’t happened much in the history of the world. We’re in an army going out to set other men free.

Since in my perspective many of the men who were brought into the war were not sure why they were there it brought to mind that during and after the war they had to be thinking to themselves “Is this fighting even worth it?” or “Why the heck am I risking my life for this?” In July , 186, episode 5 Longstreet says “They had all died for nothing and he had sent them in.” It sounds to me that he fully regrets sending his men in like that. He feels that so many men had just lost their lives for something that might not have even been worth it.

It seems to me that war is blind, pathetic, and absurd as wars must always be. This line is stated in Friday, July , 186, Chamberlain episode

He sat looking down at his bloody leg, feeling the gentle wind, the heat from the south, seeing Kilrain dead on a litter, no more the steady presence. Sometimes he believed in a Heaven, mostly he believed in a Heaven; there ought to be a Heaven for young soldiers, especially young soldiers, but just as surely for the old soldier; there ought to be more than just that metallic end, and then silence, then the worms…

When I first read this line I was almost disgusted by it. It just really hit me the way they must have felt whenever they were injured or one of their collegues is lying there dead next to them. I can only imagine what it was like to wake in the morning happy that you made it through the night alive. All that could have been avoided and that is one of the biggest reasons that I feel war is blind, pathetic, and absurd. Although many are now considered hero’s for their acts in war, the disputes that they war was over could have been settled in some other way and the outcome could have been even better then the one that prevailed.

Michael Shaara did a great job in portraying the feelings and emotions of war heroes to the readers of “The Killer Angels”. He not only grasped the emotional aspect of the soldiers he was also able to almost dive into their minds and get a physicological view as well. It brought to view how much pain and suffering a soldier goes through for their country and why they are considered heroes.

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