Flags of Our Fathers

What images, events, and people made the strongest impression on you while reading about hte first days of the battle? why?

it is a short answer essay test based on flags of our fathers.. i am looking for your opinion on this answer to help my opinion on it

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James Bradley describes the attack on Pearl Harbor by using quotations from the media. He takes the point of view of startled Americans who, because of the massive media coverage, were no longer able to ignore Japan as an enemy. The media's influence becomes a main theme in the book, as the symbol of the flag raising and the flag raisers themselves are distorted and packaged by the media in ways that will serve the interests of the government, but that are not necessarily reflective of the truth. Here, John Daly of the NBC Red is quoted as declaring that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor by air, and Americans are described as poring over their newspapers to learn more about Japan, their new enemy. The photos published in Life magazine in 1938 of Japanese atrocities at Nanking sowed terror not only in the American public but in the Marines who arrived at Guadalcanal. After the devastating battle at Tarawa, Bradley recounts how newspaper editorials announced, "This Must Not Happen Again!" alongside pictures of dead Marines floating in the ocean around the island.

The theme of individuals versus country is introduced with respect to Japan as Bradley describes the atmosphere leading up to World War II for that country. Throughout the 1930s, Japan, as a country led by a military regime, conquered Manchuria and China. Though the Japanese army "employed ruthless tactics," the citizens themselves are squeezed "in an iron vise," totally brainwashed and manipulated into carrying out the will of the government. In relating the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers at Nanking, the capital of China, Bradley distinguishes the Japanese from the Germans, the Americans' other enemy in World War II. The "sense of restraint" that dictated even the most brutal front in Europe was absent from the war in the Pacific. Japanese soldiers believed they were fighting in the "Way of the Warrior," or the Bushido tradition, but in fact they were being forced to operate within a twisted version of this warrior ideal; the Japanese military in the 20th century was more of "a cult of death," and its "warriors" were viewed as expendable. This theme is also developed in terms of the American military, which also broke down the idea of an individual self. However, in this case, the dedication was not to an unknown emperor, but to the team of soldiers.

James Bradley often uses letters to demonstrate the themes of his book, especially the transition from boyhood to manhood. A letter from Ira Hayes to his parents from training in San Diego shows that "his boyish innocence did not vanish overnight." When he returns home on furlough after fighting in Bougainville, "the slim, quiet boy had been transformed into a very formidable-looking young man... his words were typically thoughtful and gentle, but they were no longer the words of a boy. A man was talking now, a man who had seen things." Harlon Block refused to be a conscientious objector to battle based on his religion, and his father sided with him against his mother, Belle, because it would "make him a man."

Letter writing also demonstrates the role religion played in the lives of the flag raisers. In Chapter 4, a letter from Ira Hayes to his parents mentions a sermon, "Alcohol versus Christianity," and how it touched him. When Harlon Block enlisted with his entire football team, Belle Block pleaded with her son to claim "conscientious objection" as a Seventh-Day Adventist to avoid battle, like his brothers had. Bradley focuses on Harlon's religion when he points out that, after Harlon landed on Bougainville, "Harlon, the Seventh-Day Adventist, was getting his first glimpse of the world's wickedness as he trudged past these remains of friends and enemy dead."

Bradley uses dramatic irony often in his story telling, especially with regard to the outcome of the war and of the flag raisers' lives. For instance, when Jack Bradley is assigned to work in the hospital of California, he feels lucky to be avoiding battle. "But for Jack Bradley, the good life was about to change." This dramatic irony also works as foreshadowing, as the readers learn what they already know: Jack Bradley will be in the heat of battle. However, at this point in the story, Jack Bradley himself is still ignorant of this fact. Likewise, when Rene Gagnon enlists, his career as a Marine seems to be going "nowhere in particular. That would eventually change."