Friendship in War: Emotional Bonds Between Soldiers in Walter Dean Myer’s Fallen Angels

  Walter Dean Myer’s novel, “Fallen Angels,” tells of the experiences of several young soldiers during the Vietnam War, from…

 

Walter Dean Myer’s novel, “Fallen Angels,” tells of the experiences of several young soldiers during the Vietnam War, from the point of view of Richie Perry, the main character. In the story, it can be witnessed that the soldiers form strong attachments with each other, which would normally not have formed in a civilian setting. These attachments gradually develop and even grow stronger than racial and other personal prejudices, and even the threat of death.

These strong attachments are especially evident between Richie and Peewee, another young soldier that Richie gets to know very well. When Richie finds that he cannot write to his family about his feelings when he first witnesses a fellow solder’s death, he has only his other fellow soldiers to turn to, and he turns to Peewee for comfort. After Richie kills a man at close quarters for the first time, Pewee consoles him and they fall asleep holding each other. The feeling of dependence on each other for each other’s safety is again reinforced when Peewee and Perry have to hide in a small cave and kill an enemy soldier. Because of the incredibly disillusioning experiences of war, Richie realizes that his only “mission” is to stay alive and to help his friends stay alive as well. Richie even turns down a chance to be assigned to a non-combat role because of a feeling of friendship with the others in his squad, especially Peewee.