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  Literature Connections

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Fallen Angels

The following collection of thematically related readings is available in Fallen Angels and Related Readings in McDougal Littell's Literature Connections series.

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien
(from The Things They Carried, © 1990)
Summary: One of a series of interconnected short stories by award-winning author and Vietnam veteran Tim O'Brien, this story examines the burdens--both physical and emotional--that a platoon of soldiers in Vietnam must bear.

"Letter: 31 August 1969" by George Olsen
(from Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam, © 1985)
Summary: In this letter home to the U.S., a soldier in Vietnam discusses why he is fighting in a faraway country.

"In the Forest at Night" by Duc Thanh, translated by Thanh T. Nguyen Bruce Weigl
(from Poems from Captured Documents, © 1994)
Summary: The human face of the enemy is revealed in this poem written by a North Vietnamese soldier.

"What Were They Like?" by Denise Levertov
(from Denise Levertov: Poems 1968-1972, © 1971)
Summary: Written by a prominent anti-war protester, this poem makes a powerful statement against the war by asking what Vietnam was like before the conflict began.

"look at this" by E. E. Cummings
(from Complete Poems: 1904-1962, © 1991)
Summary: This poem, written after World War I, confronts the stark reality of death in wartime.

"The Spoils of War" by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
(from The New York Times, October 9, 1980)
Summary: The author gives a vivid portrait of the emotional scars the war has left on a Vietnam veteran who is studying in her class.

Excerpt from "Ghosts in the Wall" by Kris Hardin
(essay appearing as a preface to The Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Michael Katakis, © 1988)
Summary: This excerpt from an essay describes the planning and building of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and it explores the role the memorial has played in helping the U.S. come to terms with the war.