A Study of Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

War can turn even the strongest of men humble. The novel Fallen Angels is about a small group of men who come of age in the Vietnam War. Richie Perry, the novels protagonist, enlists in the army mainly to escape his problemsa bad relationship with his mother, a lack of opportunity in Harlem, and an uncertainty about his future. He finds himself in the middle of a war that is more confusing and traumatic than the life he fled. In this novel Walter Dean Myers uses many types of literary devices in order to help the reader become familiar with the plot. One of the many types of devices Myers utilizes is that of characterization. In this novel characterization is depicted through Perrys action and speech, thoughts, and even by his physical appearance. Walter Dean Myers uses many examples of characterization for the purpose of developing the character in relation to the other elements of the story. Myers uses indirect characterization in order to paint a mental picture of Richie Perry.

Action and speech can reveal a lot about a persons character. We see this in the novel when Perry is going on his first patrol, for the first ten minutes he had to wipe his right hand on his fatigues at least a dozen times. He kept imagining VC popping up and him not being ready to fire. By him wiping his hand on his fatigues shows how incredibly apprehensive and nervous he was. After one of Richies fellow platoon members got killed, the entire company was in mourning. Richie was going over to one of the men and saw him crying. When he saw this he decided not to talk to him and turned around and walked away. The reason for this was because Richie didnt want to insult his friend by seeing him cry. This is an example showing how respectful Richie is.

Another way Myers shows Richies character is through his thoughts. On the plain, on his way over to Vietnam, Richie thinks to himself I usually cant eat when Im nervous, and going to Nam made me nervous. The only reason I was going anyway was because of a paperwork mess up. This distinctly shows how tense and nervous he was. Another example of characterization shown through Richies thoughts is right after he had written a letter to Lieutenant Carrolls wife telling her of what had happened to her husband. Richie begins thinking to himself about what his mother would do if she ever received a letter like that about Richie. This shows Richies concern and love for his mother, even if they dont have a good relationship. It shows that he is very caring and sentimental.

The third way in which Richies character is depicted is through his physical appearance. As Richie was in combat he began thinking to himself that he felt huge walking among them. He towered over them. He was huge and he was armed to the teeth, and these were not his people. By his physical appearance being much larger than that of the VC he felt as if he was greatly superior to them. Another example of how Richie felt superior to the VC is when he arrived at Headquarters Company and Vietnamese people were working behind the counter. He thought they looked peaceful enough, and so small. He was six-three, and many of them seemed a good foot shorter than he was. In conclusion, in the novel Fallen Angels, Walter Dean Myers uses different examples of characterization in descriptive form to show how the protagonist, Richie Perry, is to be seen by the reader.

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