It came out of a blue rainstorm in the east and overflowed the narrow valley road, coiling along a stream, narrowing and choking at a white bridge, fading out into the yellowish dust of June but still visible on the farther road beyond the blue hills, spiked with flags and guidons like a great chopped bristly snake, the snake ending headless in a blue wall of summer rains (Shaara 3).
The man is riding a horse, crawling over rocks, feeling the coolness of the rocks, feeling the sudden openness of reaching a vista-like vantage point where he can see for miles—all of these things are siren songs.
This quote puts a humor into the mix of images that sets the tone. That if things got hot, the bearers would have to dump the stretchers in the swamp. But the clinical way in which the first scene is depicted is where this novel’s true horrors lie.
There will be a dark hollowness that surrounds the events of this story where all a person can do is laugh because the only other option would be to weep or vomit—and perhaps all three reactions would not be out of place. And this clinical method returns later in the story to “humorously” justify a bureaucratic death while showing the reader that in actuality, all deaths of war are technically bureaucratic. The Killer Angeles: The Classic Novel of the Civil War. Print This blog post is provided free of charge and we encourage you to use it for your research and writing.
It is not enough for the Lance-Corporal to be dead and left in a tree like trash. He had to guarantee them that he wouldn’t leave them behind. He saw the badly wounded Russian Captain, and he knew he couldn’t tell them the truth.
The body will also be cut in half by machine guns, run over by a Russian tank and fired upon by a passing fighter jet: “After that, the Lance-Corporal was left in peace” (Ledig 2). That even the healthy ones would be unlikely to reach their own lines alive. And adding to the relentless horrors of war are the dark flashbacks and memories of these soldiers who are not only haunted by the present, but also by bleak pasts that color their current experiences, such as the major attempting to deal with strategy after receiving the news“Anna and child dead stop buried under debris of house stop bodies unrecognizable stop immediate burial” (Ledig 20).
In this world, there’s always somebody fighting somewhere for some reason or another.
We've also learned - as is the case with America's war on terrorism - that war doesn't even have to be between two nations.
I’d never been impressed by Australians’ fond notions of the national character (we like to think we’re brave, resourceful, loyal to our mates, democratic, egalitarian, etc.), and here was a betrayal of mateship” (garrydisher.com).
Disher also described another document that told the story of an isolated Australian woman caring for Dutch refugees on the northern coast of Australia with the constant looming threat of Japanese attack while all the men were away at war.