Comparing Historical Content in Philip Caputo's 'A Rumor of War' and Stanley Kubrick's 'Full Metal Jacket'

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Middlebury College
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History has many platforms to thrive. Both films, books, and works of literature hold weight in the storage and transmission of archival content. It is evident from major past events that have hit the world that the materials of these happenings are stored either in film or books. Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War and the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket directed by Stanley Kubrick are equally crucial in the presentation of historical contents. From the themes of these pieces hold some comparisons and the contrasts which both functions to add value to the entire artwork of presenting arguments (Caputo, 12).

The 1987 film Full Metal Jacket is a war narrative that shows some frightening exploration of the significant ramification of the extreme conditions on an individual's psyche. The film has themes like transformation where Hartman informs me that his goal is to turn men into "killers"; this is shown in the boot camp which is a crusade for changing men into destroyers. The nicknaming of the men by calling them cowboys only encouraging them to leave their original lives into the favorite characters as indicated by Joker is a form of transformation. There is also a theme of masculinity where the film suggests that men should leave their mental and physical incapacity thus portraying feminist as unacceptable in the military. It shows the level of seriousness that men ought to have in preparation for war (Caputo, 23). The film also presents sexuality; Hartman reveals that men need to leave their sexual fantasies before joining the military camp (Avila, 49).

Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War presents on the experience of the Vietnam War. The book effects of war are indicated as the major themes in the book, but the dominant theme is the influence of culture on the war. Both works have ideas on the war effects and majorly the experiences of the soldiers. Both the book and the film indicate the emotional reactions of the people and especially the soldiers. However, both themes revolve around the military experiences, the psychological impacts of wars and the entire consequences of war.

Issues Raised by The Authors

The principal purpose of the film is to portray the psychological change of the soldier after the training. The effects of transformation of the average soldiers from the humanism to destroyers who are compelled to engage in war are shown. The characterization focuses on making the soldiers look focused on things that only their leader understands. It shows that the soldiers do not know even know the reason for the participation in wars. The power of transformation is indicated by the film (Avila, 36).

The book on the other hand mainly focuses on the effects of wars. The emotional impacts of the war on society and majorly on the soldiers are evident. The author focuses on the preparations for the fights. The book shows how the main character entered the military and the way they joined the war.

The Main Purposes

The book and the film used the themes to achieve the focus and the objectives of producers. The film, for example, uses characterization, the events and the entire work focuses on the topics. The process of transformation, for example, the film shows how Joker makes the soldier cherish masculinity and hate feminism by being encouraged to leave their sexual feelings and fantasies. The experiences of the training sessions and the wars are repeatedly reviewed regularly to maintain focus (Caputo, 56).

Consequently, the book makes a periodic review of the real experience of the main character that is shown engaging in the war preparations and war. The book shares real war experiences during the war. The emotions of the role are clearly shown indicating that the objectives of the book have been met.

Flaws or Weakness

The film and book have flaws and vulnerability that both are important in the depiction of artwork. The film and the book focused on the individual experiences of the characters. The text used the real war experiences which according to the analysis of the book indicate that they hold some truth which promotes the realization of the objectives of the piece. The film used the sound enhancements and other theater tools to achieve the emotional impact and convincing power of the film. The uses of the real experiences significantly hold a higher persuasive power and attraction to the audience.

The weaknesses of the pieces come with the stands that the characters have on the culture of the people. The film, for instance, indicates a society that does not value feminism and thus promotes the liking of certain genders. There is a lack of sequential flow of the event; instead, there is much strength put on the emotional impacts of the pieces.

Can the Film Serve as An Effective Medium for Historical Discourse?

It is evident that films are best in presenting some historical discourse. Movies offer the best event coverage that outlines the step by step development of scenarios which can be quickly followed and understood by the audience. There are emotional impacts of the events that can be used primarily to achieve the objectives of the piece. There is an easy way of making the focus of the film because there are many avenues of preserving the historical event. From the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, the themes are shown and promoted by the stands and the actions of the main characters. Therefore, the use of the movie in the portrayal of history is based on the power of the film enhancements. Films hold a belief of trust which can be achieved through the presentation of the events without real explanations. Therefore there is much trust in the events shown in films on history than the use of writings. There is more attachment to the film like emotions that promote feelings to the audience which is the basis of focus and objectivity.

Works Cited

Avila, Raul. "Full metal jacket: versiones en espanol y en latino." Revista de Filologia de la Universidad de La Laguna36 (2018): 35-47.

Caputo, Philip. A Rumor of War: The Classic Vietnam Memoir. Picador USA, 2017.

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