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Fallen Angels

Walter Dean Myers

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Richie Perry -  The narrator and protagonist. Richie is a seventeen-year-old high school graduate from Harlem. Though he is smart and ambitious, his alcoholic single mother cannot afford to send him to college, so he joins the army to escape an uncertain future. Richie is sent to Vietnam, and during his months there, he suffers numerous harrowing combat experiences and tries to grapple with the meaning of war, heroism, and good and evil.

Read an in-depth analysis of Richie Perry.

Kenny -  Richie’s younger brother. Kenny depends on his older brother, who acts as a father figure to him and enlists in Vietnam in part to help support him. Yet Richie seems to need Kenny just as much as Kenny needs him. Kenny’s dependence on Richie and his admiration and love for him act as Richie’s only solid link to the civilian world during the war and provide him with his only sense of purpose.
Mother  -  Richie’s mother, a depressive alcoholic who has barely functioned since her husband left her years earlier. Though Richie and his mother have never gotten along well, they realize how much they need each other while Richie is in Vietnam. They try to repair their damaged relationship through their letters.
Harold “Peewee” Gates -  Richie’s closest friend in Vietnam. Peewee copes with the fear and uncertainty of the war with comical bravado, though he occasionally allows his true emotions to peek through the bluster.
Lobel -  A member of Richie’s squad. Jewish and possibly homosexual, Lobel is the target of prejudice nearly as frequently as the black soldiers, to whom he pledges his support in racial skirmishes. Lobel is a devoted fan of the movies, and he distances himself from the horror of battle by imagining that he is merely playing a role in a war film.

Read an in-depth analysis of Lobel.

Monaco -  A soldier of Italian descent on Richie’s squad. Monaco seems slightly braver than the rest, always taking the dangerous position of point man.
Captain Stewart -  The commander of Richie’s company. Captain Stewart wants to be promoted to major, but his company needs to accrue a higher enemy body count for him to earn the promotion. He sends Richie’s company on numerous dangerous missions, risking the lives of the soldiers under his command for the sake of his own ambition.
Sergeant Simpson -  The leader of Richie’s squad. When Richie first arrives in Vietnam, Sergeant Simpson is near the end of his tour of duty. He warns Richie and the other new soldiers not to get him killed because of their inexperience. Later, under great pressure from Stewart, Simpson extends his tour by thirty days, but he survives and returns home, just as he wished.
Lieutenant Carroll -  The leader of Richie’s platoon. A smart and sympathetic leader, Lieutenant Carroll is well-liked by the men under his command, and his death during combat leaves them all grief-stricken.
Lieutenant Gearhart -  The inexperienced leader of Richie’s platoon after Lieutenant Carroll’s death.
Brew -  A devoutly religious solider in Richie’s squad. Brew plans to join the ministry upon his return to civilian life.
Corporal Brunner -  An ambitious soldier on Richie’s squad. A bully, Corporal Brunner constantly kisses up to soldiers of higher rank, while abusing those below him.
Sergeant Dongan -  An officer who replaces Simpson as the leader of Richie’s squad. Sergeant Dongan is a racist and always places black soldiers in the most dangerous positions during patrols.
Judy Duncan -  An army nurse Richie meets during the trip to Vietnam. Though Richie sees Judy only once more before learning of her death, she serves as the closest thing to a love interest in the novel, and she is a source of confusion and tame fantasy for Richie.
Earlene -  Peewee’s girlfriend. Not long after Peewee arrives in Vietnam, Earlene writes him a letter, informing him that she married another man in his absence. She symbolizes how war disrupts domestic affairs.
Jamal -  A medic in Richie’s company.
Jenkins -  A member of Richie’s squad who arrives in Vietnam at the same time as Richie.
Johnson -  An extraordinarily strong black soldier on Richie’s squad who proves himself to be a born leader.
Johnny Robinson -  A boy from Richie’s neighborhood in Harlem who is killed in Vietnam.
Turner -  A soldier briefly on Richie’s squad.
Walowick -  A slightly racist soldier on Richie’s squad who appears to overcome his prejudices as the bond among the squad members deepens.

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plot

by YoungMabz, August 04, 2013

Many people in this world are unsure of what their future goals may be just like this certain young man named, Richie Perry. Richie Perry is a smart African American and well behaved child who had graduated from his high school in Harlem. However, his mother who loves to drink does not have enough money to send him to collage. Richie believes he should join the army so he can escape his future, which he does, he joins the army. He is now being sent to Vietnam to fight in the war to fulfill his duty. Richie claims he joined the army to find o... Read more

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32 out of 42 people found this helpful

setting and begining story

by YoungMabz, August 04, 2013

setting is in Harlem in 1967.

Richie joined the army so he can have money and send it home to his little brother, Kenny. He also joined because it is an escape to get away from all the questions people would ask him about his future that he was unsure of. After he is sent to Vietnam to fight he writes to his brother explaining that the war is going to end very soon. Richie begins to get familiar with his leader which he quickly finds out is selfish by his actions.

middle of story

by YoungMabz, August 04, 2013

Richie begins to start thinking deep about his entire life,very shortly they are ambushed and Richie begins to fire his weapon. Once they escape the attack they find out their leader was hit by enemy fire and must be taken to the hospital where he dies. Everyone is mourning their fallen soldier's death and pays their respect. Hours go by, Richie and his squad are restless, don't know what to do. they become very bored and start thinking of what terror could occur next.

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