Added: March 4, 2017 – Last updated: March 4, 2017


Author: Hyung Shik Lee

Title: 인종적, 성적, 정치적 타자의 삭제를 통한 미국 남성성의 회복

Subtitle: 전쟁의 사상자들

Translation: The Recovery of American Masculinity through Erasure of the Racial, Sexual, and Political Other: Casualties of War

Journal: (The Journal of Literature and Film)

Volume: 17

Issue: 3

Year: 2016

Pages: 391-409

ISSN: 1229-9847 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: Korean

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History; Asian History: Vietnamese History | Representations: Films / Casualties of War; Types: Gang Rape, Interracial Rape, Wartime Sexual Violence / Vietnam War


Link: DBpia (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »This paper aims to examine the changes in the concept of American masculinity and the birth of a new hero in the late 1980s by analyzing Casualties of War. This movie, along with Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, belongs to the trend of films which seriously reconsidered and reflected on the meaning of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war. In contrast to those fantasy movies like Rambo and Missing in Action series which tried to heal the wound of American psyche by re-imagining the war as a victory, these movies question the legitimacy of the American campaign in the foreign land. Much like the famous massacre in a civilian village of My Lai, the story of U.S. soldiers who kidnap, gang rape, and kill a Vietnamese girl forces the audience to reconsider the U.S. involvement in Vietnam as well as the concept of heroism and masculinity.
In this movie, Private Eriksson is pitted against the tough and seasoned sergeant Tony Meserve. Representing all the atrocities committed by American soldiers in Vietnam, Meserve urges other soldiers to gang rape the Vietnamese girl, and later kills her to hide their crime. Her body as a racial, sexual, and political Other contains the signifiers of difference, and by raping and killing her the soldiers confirm the invulnerability and dominance of their masculinity. Refusing to be an accomplice to this crime, Eriksson reports the crime to commanding officers, only to be told “That’s the way things are.” Even though Eriksson is not as hard-bodied as other soldiers, he, as a new American hero, relies on the Army system of legal justice and succeeds in incriminating the criminals.« (Source: DBpia)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of Vietnam / History of Vietnam since 1945 | History of the Americas: History of the United States / History of the United States (1964–80) | Film: American films / Casualties of War | Sex and the law: Gang rape, Wartime sexual violence | War: Vietnam War / United States war crimes