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7 April 2008
English Dept. Lecture Series Focuses on Marine's Disillusionment with War

On Wednesday, April 16, 2008, the English Department Lecture Series of Jacksonville State University will be presenting “Jarhead and the Failure of the Vietnam Myth,” a reading by Dr. Andrea Porter, Assistant Professor of English.

The generation of young men and women who fought in the first Gulf War were bred on a Vietnam War myth, where war is uncertain, drugs are standard fare, villages are burned, rock’n’roll is the soundtrack, and the establishment is ultimately the enemy. The effects of this Vietnam myth are readily apparent when Anthony Swofford receives orders for war in his memoir Jarhead; he and his fellow Marines prepare for the onslaught the only way they know how—by gorging on Vietnam movies.

Swofford writes, “Now is my time to step into the newest combat zone. And as a young man raised on the films of the Vietnam War, I want ammunition and alcohol and dope, I want to . . . kill some Iraqi[s].”

War, as imagined by Swofford, is straight out of the cultural Vietnam myth.

However, once in country, amid the swirling sands of Saudi Arabia, Swofford and his platoon soon realize that this myth died long ago in the jungles of Vietnam, and a renewed sense of generational betrayal ensues. While the myth itself fails, Swofford shows that the textual truth of war stories, nevertheless, prevails.

Dr. Porter will supplement her reading of Jarhead with clips from the film of the same name and from Vietnam War films.

This presentation will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Room 233 - Stone Center on the campus of Jacksonville State University and is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Teresa Reed at (256)782-5456 or send e-mail to


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