Study Guide

Fallen Angels Chapter 17

By Walter Dean Myers

Chapter 17

  • Perry is dropped off and finds Peewee and the other guys. They tell him Sergeant Simpson went home and a man named Dongan took his place. They think Dongan is racist because of where he's having the black soldiers stand in their formations.
  • Johnson refuses to accept that Brew has died. He insists on talking to Perry about Brew being sent home. It's not pretty, and it's called denial.
  • A chaplain, which is a Catholic priest, visits the squad. He isn't that comforting—he doesn't promise eternal life or a righteous path or anything. He admits he's scared and asks if they want to pray with him.
  • They do. So it's at least sort of comforting.
  • Dongan's race problem is discussed a lot in the squad. He gets into a fight with Johnson, and Peewee and Perry tell Johnson they're with him. Lobel tells them they have a Jew on their side, too.
  • Dongan takes Perry, Lobel, and Peewee on guard duty. Dongan expertly kills a Vietcong soldier by throwing a rock like a grenade: when it doesn't go off, the man's head pops up to look for it. Easy target.
  • A woman with two kids is caught along the edge of the rice paddies near base. The soldiers try to question her, then decide she seems innocent and let her go.
  • Some of the soldiers make jokes about the woman, but Peewee tries to make one of her kids a doll out of grass, which is kind of sweet.
  • The woman hands one of her kids to a GI. Is it bonding time?
  • No. The kid was mined, and explodes in the GI's arms. So much for grass dolls and budding friendships.
  • The men shoot the woman and her other child. They feel like they don't have a choice. That's the real horror of this war—even a nice moment can go downhill really fast.

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