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ERIC Number: EJ839118
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Casualties of War: Combat Trauma and the Return of the Combat Veteran
Kiely, Denis O.; Swift, Lisa
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v36 n4 p357-364 May 2009
The experience of the combat soldier and the road back to civilian life are recurrent themes in American literature and cinema. Whether the treatment is tragic (Stephen Crane's "Red Badge of Courage", Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried", or Tony Scott's "Blackhawk Down"), satirical (Joseph Heller's "Catch Twenty-Two" and Robert Altman's "MASH"), or even superficial (Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo I", "II", "III", and "IV"), these works all owe a debt to Homer, the first artist in the Western tradition to write about the psychological effects of war. Despite differences in setting, conflict, and social milieu, all of the protagonists in these prototypical American works are mimetic descendants of Achilles, Odysseus, Hector, Ajax, Agamemnon, and the other heroes of the Trojan War. This essay discusses how firsthand accounts of American soldiers can help literature students appreciate how the combat trauma and homecoming experiences of today's soldiers parallel the stories of Homeric heroes.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A