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Fallen Angels and The Man I Killed

            The loss of innocence is an evident theme in both Walter Dean Meyers' "Fallen Angels" and Tim O'Brien's "The Man I Killed". Both pieces depict young men as they lose their innocence in the Vietnam War facing the inhumane acts that comes along with war. Although they are quite similar they also have vast differences as the characters go through their different endeavors thus enabling them to eventually lose their innocence. These experiences contribute immensely in their coming of age, as both characters realize how malicious the world can be.
             The concept "Loss of Innocence" deals with a period in one's life, usually during adolescence when they are exposed to troubles of life and see evil, pain, or suffering in the world around them. During, this stage of life it leads the individual to a coming of age moment, where they become aware of the troubled reality going on in the world. Thus far, this is shown as the young men go into the Vietnam War sheltered and not really being revealed to immorality in the world. Comparatively it is evident in both pieces from Myers' with Lieutenant Carroll calling the dead soldiers "angel warriors" because usually young boys were the ones who fought the war; despite the fact that they were quite young and most of them couldn't vote. This is ironic since the young men were out in combat defending their country, yet they were not even mature enough to truly understand what they were fighting for in Nam along with them not being legally able to make a difference in their country. Whereas in "The Man I Killed" the theme is evident after O'Brien kills the man and is feeling guilty. He begins to imagine what the man's life might have been before the war started where he saw him as an young boy who loved mathematics and only reason for joining the war was because in his family the highest honor for a man was to defend the land of his people, such as the man's father and uncle had done.

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