Rollins, Peter C. “The Vietnam War: Perceptions Through Literature, Film, and Television.” American Quarterly. (1984). JSTOR. Oklahoma State University. University of Pennsylvania Library, Philadelphia. 31 Mar. 2006. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0678%281984%2936%3A3%3C419%3ATVWPTL%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Q.
This article discusses how literature, film, and television have interpreted the Vietnam War. The article argues that artists have struggled to create convincing metaphors for the war and its effects in their works, and because of the nature of the content these works have been very controversial.
The article begins by exploring the different ways in which novelists have explored the themes of the war. Many of the writers, writing from the point of view of soldiers, chose to focus on the theme of loss of innocence.
Next, the article discusses how filmmakers have interpreted the Vietnam War. Here, the article mentions The Deer Hunter. The article argues that this film is probably the most ambitious of the Vietnam films in its attempt to discuss themes of American life, but criticizes it for losing its focus at times. The themes the film attempts to explore, according to the article, are sexual and ethnic identity, the individual versus society, and civilization versus nature. The article explains that the film reaches no real conclusion about any of these issues; instead, it remains ambivalent, echoing the opinions of many Americans on such subjects.
The article concludes by exploring how television has explored the Vietnam War, examining news casts, documentaries, and propaganda. It discusses the role of Vietnam as the first “television war,” and examines how the use of television affected how Americans perceived the war and America’s role in it.
By examining the different ways each medium has treated the issue of the Vietnam War, the article concludes with a call to researchers and scholars to examine these differences and to find connections between the different interpretations.