Study Guide

The Hurt Locker Fear


War is scary, folks.

Shocker. We know.

No one seems to have told this to Will in The Hurt Locker, though. It seems like our protagonist doesn't really experience fear—though his fellow EODers Eldridge and Sanborn certainly do.

Actually, the fact that Will doesn't experience fear also comes up a lot. Sanborn and Eldridge are always marveling about how little Will thinks about or fears the possible consequences of this work (you know, like death). And the men really don't appreciate when Will's whole ice-in-the-veins approach makes already dicey situations a lot more dangerous.

Will's total lack of fear makes other people think of him as some kind of "wild man" cowboy, to use the colonel's phrase, but it also seems to get him in a fair amount of trouble throughout the film. He just doesn't have that little voice in his head that says a situation would be better off avoided.

Questions About Fear

  1. Do you find it admirable that Will is never afraid, or do you find it stupid?
  2. What do you think the film's perspective on Will's fearlessness is? Does it have one?
  3. What do you make of the film's portrayal of Eldridge's fearfulness? Are we supposed to sympathize with him? Or think he's ridiculous?

Chew on This

Ultimately, the film portrays Will's fearlessness as stupid since he ends up getting into at least two ridiculous and unnecessarily dangerous situations as a result of his whole cowboy attitude.

Will? Fearless? Sure, maybe most of the time, but he's at least a little afraid—that's why he sleeps in the helmet of his bomb suit.

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