“Courage Under Fire” by Edward Zwick

This essay in brief discusses the movie “Courage under Fire” by giving different types of leadership and the change theory. In addition, it examines the complexity in the movie characters. For Serling, developing predestined captivating accountability for his dealings and fitting the leader he was competent of being. Walden’s award with the Medal of Honor confirmed her tough leadership task and talent.

It would have been easy to act as Walden if the character was given to a male counterpart. As a purely maternal soldier figure according to the revelations of Ilario, she is a challenging figure. The maternal Walden regardless of how excellent a soldier she was is the wrong sex to undertake the critical tasks that the war environment demanded (Linville 2004, 111). This is evident when at a time of crisis Ilario sides with Monfriez a clear indication for the desire of men leadership. When Monfriez takes her fire arm misconstruing her deeds and eventually shoots her in the stomach, she refused to let any of her crew around her. In the language of a soldier she moans that after all she delivered a nine-pound baby. She maintains that she can handle the situation while the way she handles Rady indicates that she is maternal. On the contrary male soldiers acting on maternal roles have fewer challenges. Men care for each other better with no compromise on their male credentials. The best is example is the bonding between Serling and his supervisor Hershberg which depicts a masculinist maternal care (Linville 2004, p 112).

Serling a commandant of an army unit is fixed by adversary fire, and the deputy by no means loses her calm. In an emergency situation, she exhibits “courage under fire.”

Walden plays a very tricky role in the inquiry into the truth. Her character is seen in a variety of flashbacks as completely different individuals. Walden has always displayed a bold personality and the determination of a bold girl accustomed to achieving her goals. She is certainly a brave womanly warrior whose aspiration to be a champion leads her into disarray. Her bodily robustness is in itself is linked with markedly feminine traits. Women have intuitively considerate skills and can hold emotions in a different way from men. As the characters relate the day the helicopter crashed, anxiety and emotion becomes more factual with each telling. A sense of duty is evident in the film where Walden decides to choose the difficult truth over the easy and immoral. Instead of leaving the site of the crash where darkness provided safety from attack, Walden decides otherwise for the sake of the health of her injured co-pilot. She asserted her competency as a leader by effectively mobilizing the available resources to construct a temporary castle (Westwell, 2006, p. 158).

Courage under fire depicts a picture of typical female heroism, Walden is a woman of unparalleled moral courage and her compatriots attest to this by indicating that she by no means displayed any fear and got calmer with increase in pressure. The best leader is the one who never leaves others behind and women over the years have shown the caring attribute which is exhibited by Walden when she sacrifices in a mission to save men and women of her country. The story of Walden would have been different if it was a male pilot in a presumed crashed chopper. He would have come back from the deceased and became an agent of exoneration and revenge for himself.

There is evidence of prejudice towards women and Iraqi’s. Generally, the military is seen to be blind to race Walden’s competence in the job posed a threat to the masculine enclave of the military which only her demise could relieve. The men in Walden’s team partially tell of the incident until at the end of the film when we learn that she wasn’t killed by enemies but rather as a top secret, they were responsible for her death (Mukherjee 2006 p 134). Monfriez’s negative response to Walden’s leadership coupled with his insubordination and mutinous confrontation is to blame for the events leading to her death and the subsequent conceal.

Serling has fully been accustomed and thus become blind to racial flaws by the American labor force. He shares in the hilarity of chauvinistic sediments referring to Iraqi adversaries as “rat heads” and chuckles when Monfriez boasts about humping military nurses. Walden’s candidacy for the medal was used by some individuals for political reasons, with a source from the white house indicating that it was the first award to go to a female in the history of the United States of America. When her aircraft came under fire at some point in the operation, the men under her began questioning her ability. Wounded she warns that she would pursue disciplinary action but covers them as they ran in the wilderness to a rescue helicopter. The men eventually leave her to die. Later when the truth about her death was established the soldier who shot her killed himself. Walden posthumously received her Medal of Honor for outstanding courage under fire.

The film has much of its theatrical tensions around Walden as a woman serving in the military; her soldierly acts of violence are seen to be provoked by her maternal resentment to her crew. Walden a divorced mother is a strong female pilot who holds fast her faith in fighting to save the lives of others while at war in the male dominated army. Monfriez called himself a good soldier, yet from the plot we can establish that he was a coward. When they discovered the worn-out black hawk in enemies’ fire, he was of the opinion that they call for support while they headed home. Walden did an ad hoc with her gasoline tank and she was shot but she refused to abandon her wounded Rady as she cried under compassion. Monfriez scorned at her for crying. During a confrontation with Monfriez, an Iraqi soldier appears from behind and Walden shot him as Monfriez opened fire at her. When the rescue team arrived in the morning and asked if there were any soldiers left, Monfriez said that the wounded Walden was dead Rady was down for the count and the rest accepted the lie (Smith, 2004, p. 203). Had she been a man the rest of the team would have esteemed her judgment of the situation. She fails to perform as commanding officer because she is merely a woman and cannot set off the men into manhood like the other sergeants. Walden refuses to be a spectacle, weak or penetrable and overcomes gender hierarchies. Her demise in a friendly fire is a consequence of men collapse, a gender disorder in which she is responsible.

Walden is revealed combining her roles both as a mother and a soldier by performing press ups while singing to her daughter (Smith, 2004 p, 202). She was a protagonist who vigorously broke gender barriers in her career. She was later exonerated from collapse in the field and awarded as a combat hero. Ilario the closest of her crew reveals that she was authoritative, in control and protective, patting and covering her head when bullets flew.

The resolution that Walden died while fighting a rear guard action in an effort to save her colleagues gives her a heroic stature. The complex narrative is a suitable example of gender appropriation. It presents the story of a dead heroine whose daring actions were intentionally falsified (Smith, 2004 p, 201). Her death was in the danger of being used for propaganda purposes but fortunately rescued from the obscurity of history by a man with a distressed conscience. The men in her team top cover up their cowardice obstruct Serling’s inquiry by providing deviant falsehoods.

Lieutenant Serling, a well adorned African American black army officer enlisted to carry out an inquiry into Walden’s death is an awful figure in his own right. He fired into his own men killing numerous of them and becomes a subject of inquiry. Both Serling and the men under Walden’s investigation committed similar offenses and are all under the same guilt. Consequently, Serling is taken off from family life and embarks on heavy drinking. His supervisor brigadier Hershberg assures him of protection but he has a deep rooted desire to get to the bottom of the matter (Mukherjee 2006 p, 136). This raises suspicion that Serling could have been a recipient of preferential treatment in his career in the army. The muted tones of the inquiry as well as the army’s gratuitous protectiveness toy with the prospect that Serling, a black army officer may perhaps have been promoted clear of his abilities by white military officers. And thus such unmerited favoritism may be practiced habitually at the work place (Mukherjee 2006 136).

Serling refuses to rush the report on the inquiry into the death of Walden despite the mounting pressure from the pentagon and the army. Later on he is relieved of the inquiry but vows to pursue it on his own. At last he is able to take hold of the prejudices of the irresolute meritocracy. A circumscribed and secured racial consciousness is established however for Serlings non-cooperation with top army brass remains in the protective care of white hegemonic ideals. Serling sought neither fundamental activism nor accepted mobilization to wage his battle. He neither confided in nor sought after the help of those in the margin (Smith, 2004, p.204). Rather his rushed racial innocence shows the history of black innocence scripted towards hegemonic standards and loyalty as they try to restore the proverbial masters’ house.

The movie depicts different levels of moral intolerance it gives the setback of sexual harassment both weight and repercussion. He brings it out as not just misconduct but a gross means of undermining women at their job. During the conflict between Walden and Monfriez he refers to her as a cunt a derogatory term of abuse used explicitly to recode her in reference to the feminine body and that indicates that there is no way she was going to get her gun (Eberwein, 2005, p. 181). This is a reflection of male lawn marking of sustaining the masculine martial supremacy through maltreatment and humiliation. The movie progressively explores the progressive view of the multifaceted relationship involving the truth, gender, ethics and the political manipulation of the military by the media.

Sterling pursues an investigation to establish the truth while struggling with persona problems. His trauma deepens as the army tries to cover up the mistake. His impatience developing by day he devolves himself into self-destruction. While the plane crushes at night; Walden selflessly tries to save her members of the combat as much as she can. The film progressively uses sensational conventions to show the growth in the bond between black and white soldiers and men and women in uniform through its hero and heroine respectively. Courage under fire constructs a heroic female identity in Walden reconfiguring her feminine and masculine traits as a warrior. Courage under fire pursues the truth about the suitability of Walden as a commander and pilot. Successive competing recollections revealed her as a very potent helicopter pilot as well as a commandant of a rescue operation.

Reference List

Eberwein, R. (2005). The war film. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.

Linville, S. E. (2004). History films, women, and Freud’s uncanny. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Mukherjee, R. (2006). The racial order of things: Cultural imaginaries of the post-soul era. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Smith, A. K. (2004). Gender and warfare in the twentieth century: Textual representations. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Westwell, G. (2006). War cinema: Hollywood on the front line. London: Wallflower.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Place New Order
It's Free, Fast & Safe

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!