Fallen Angels

by: Walter Dean Myers

Peewee

Characters Peewee

Hailing from the brutal streets of the Chicago ghettos, Peewee has learned to respond to fear with a brash humor that either disarms or infuriates anyone who meets him. When Richie first meets Peewee during the trip to Vietnam, Peewee seems arrogant, flippant, and even slightly insane. As the two boys share the experiences of war, however, Richie realizes that Peewee is actually deeply caring, kind, loyal, and tender. While never wholly abandoning his bluster and jokes, Peewee reveals his true self more often as the months drag on, most strikingly after he watches a mother sacrifice her own child in the war effort.

Of all the members of the squad, Peewee best illustrates the odd mixture of boy and man that makes up a soldier. He arrives in Vietnam claiming to have only three goals in life: to drink wine from a corked bottle, to smoke a cigar, and to make love to a foreign woman. Yet later, Peewee also hopes to become the stepfather to his girlfriend’s daughter. He is still unable to grow a mustache, and he naïvely puts lotion on his lip to speed its growth. However boyish he is, he also must fight for his country, and he bravely and calmly saves another soldier, Monaco, from death. Like Richie, Peewee leaves Vietnam no closer to figuring out his future, but closer to becoming a man.