The novel “Morning Glories among the Peas” was written by James D. Seddon, a mechanic and expert surveillance personnel of the US army. He was one of the US soldiers who was involved in the Vietnam War. In this novel, he wrote some of his experiences albeit fighting and surviving in Vietnam. Nevertheless, he also offered some political issues that he thinks should be addressed by the US government. The Vietnam War was both a military and ideological war. When Vietnam was divided into two parts: North and South Vietnam, tensions were rising between the two nations.
North Vietnam had a Communist government supported by both the Soviet Union and Red China. It was headed by Ho Chi Minh who defeated the French during the Vietnamese war of independence. South Vietnam was democratic in government. A duly constituted government was elected by the South Vietnamese under the terms of its constitution. South Vietnam was supported by the United States. When the North Vietnamese army invaded South Vietnam, call for its defense was alerted by the United States. Allied nations of the United States responded and began sending troops to South Vietnam.
The United Nations Security Council called for the deployment of troops in South Vietnam to relieve the pressure from the South Vietnamese army trapped in the invasion. The United States, under the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson sent troops to Vietnam without the formal declaration of War. Hence, the Vietnam War came to its early phase of battle. The book was about a Vietnam War veteran who saw the horrible events in the war: the bloody massacre of villages by US troops suspected of hiding North Vietnamese, the frequent ambush of US marines in the jungles of Vietnam, and many other events narrated in the book.
Since the book is non-fiction, it guarantees a wide range of historical discourse on policies on war and political ideological struggles. Nevertheless, the wide array of schematic dialogues and conjunctures betweens characters provide the audience the atmosphere of intense conflict, of which, the most pervasive is the reality of war as politics and of politics as war. The Vietnam War was the longest war involving the United States (1961-1975), yet it was only the war in which the United States was defeated.
The intense realities of the war which the author was trying to convey in his novel was a blanch or result of ideological struggle between the US and the Communist bloc. It was often argued that the United States fought a war of non-sense, but policy-makers at that time were not concerned of practicality, but only of necessity. Vietnam was strategic since it holds the key to the numerous bodies of water surrounding the newly-born democratic republics of Southeast Asia. If Southeast Asia fell to the Communists, what are then the chances for the United States to maintain its ideological dominance?
The implication of the author’s argument may hold the key to the very purpose of sending expeditions to South Vietnam. Soldiers were sent to a land where they have no affinities. They were serving a war that does not suit their interests. Added to that, the war seemed to be a reflection of their nation’s stance to maintain world leadership at all costs, by all means. Hence then, the experiences of the veteran in the novel were a reflection of the credulity of the insistence of the United States to maintain its ideological dominance in the form of a genuine “defense of democracy.
” It was in many ways irresponsible, unconcerned, and strategic from the point of view of those who fought in the battle fronts. As for the author, his experiences of senseless massacres of villages, poisoning of wells, senseless killings of soldiers, indiscriminate bombings of cities and towns, were the direct results of this desire: the desire for ideological and military dominance. It was even implied in the title of the novel. Do morning glories really found among peas?
Does this serves as an allegory of the conflicting conditions in Vietnam and the United States? Or does this indicate a struggle for ideological dominance? Or simply a way of reiterating the realities of war brought by the things mentioned above? It seems that the novel covered these issues presented, although some of them may be highlighted and some cast aside. The realities presented by the author (who was a veteran of the war) were, in my interpretation, the embodiment of the war policies of the United States.
These were policies that prioritize ideology rather than human dignity. The novel also presented the decay of human dignity brought about by the Vietnam War. Human dignity is generally found in the ability of humans to live comfortably without the interference of foreign powers, that is, free development under the term of a just legal standard. The intrusion of the United States into the lives of the South Vietnamese brought them anguish and despair.
The United States also suffered because it lost almost 500, 000 men in the war. Nevertheless, it lost the pride and status achieved decades ago. It was generally an unwarranted war. The novel is generally a good source of historical information about the war in Vietnam. It also gives a thorough and clear description of Vietnam; its people, goals, and achievements. Nevertheless, it should be noted that there are some form of biases in the novel; sometimes favoring the United States; sometimes attacking its war policies.
For instance, to describe the North Vietnamese as “senseless killing machines” is generally unacceptable especially for educated men who view these people as freedom-loving. Nevertheless, it can also be argued that the book also suffered from the credulities of a simplistic master piece. Although it accurately describes reality, the author was unable to highlight his literary style in the novel (novice). Reference Seddon, James D. 1990. Morning Glories among the Peas: A Vietnam’s Veteran Story. Iowa State. e-bay bookstore download. http://worldcat. org//22181821?
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