Boekverslag: The Naked and the Dead
page 212: The sun was red in its setting tonight, red with the blood of our soldiers who died today. Tomorrow my blood shall be in it. This night I cannot sleep. I find myself weeping.
I have thought achingly of my childhood, and I remember the boys, my school friends, and the games we have played. I think of the year I have spent with my grandparents in the prefecture of Chosi.
I think, I am born and I die. I am born, I live, and I am to die, I think on this night.
I do not believe in the Emperor, His Most Exalted, I must confess it.
I am going to die. I am born, I am dead.
I ask myself -WHY? I am born, I am to die. WHY? WHY? What is the meaning?
The men are afraid to die and they think about it.
And for example:
Page 25: He ( Martinez) felt naked. Page 68: ...and a naked animal closeted with its bone had been exposed. Page 157: Does anything ever touch you? For that single instant the General's voice was naked.
This book is about the persons and their feelings. The dead are the men who got killed but also the men who has no feelings anymore because of the hard war. It made them strong, but that's why they are "death". The naked are the men who have very much feelings, and think about there home and wife and children and so on. They miss the warmth of being loved by a woman, by their girlfriend or woman. They feel also naked because in the army every secret isn't a secret anymore. Everybody gets to know of your feelings, you have no privacy, you feel very uncertain, you feel naked.
Nationality of author:
Further information about author:
Norman Mailer was born in New Jersey in 1923. He grew up in Brooklyn and entered Harvard University when he was only sixteen. At the University he became interested in writing and he published his first story at the age of eighteen. During the Second World War, Mailer served in the Philippines with 112th Cavalry from Texas; those were the years that formed his internationally best-selling war novel, The Naked and the Dead. In 1955 Mailer co-founded the magazine Village Voice, and he was the editor of Dissent from 1952 until 1963. For his part in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam he was gaoled in 1967. Norman Mailer has been married four times and has six children.
Alan Wingate ( Publishers)
Year of Publication:
Other titles by the same author:
Barbary Shore - 1951
The Deer Park - 1957
Advertisements for Myself - 1959
Death for the Ladies and Other Disasters - 1962
The Presidential Papers - 1963
An American Dream - 1965
Why Are We In Vietnam? - 1967
Armies of The Night - 1969
Marilyn - 1973
The Fight - 1975
Miami and the Siege of Chicago
Of a Fire on the Moon
The Prisoner of Sex
The Faith of Graffiti
Cannibals and Christians
The Executioner's Song
Of Woman and their Elegance
More: see Background information.
Who and why does he felt responsible for the death of Hennessey?
Brown: " Should I have left him behind?" He tried not to consider whether he were responsible.( page 37) Brown was relieved and decided he did not have to blame himself. ( page 38)
Why do they need a road?
Answer: When Cummings' troops had reached the Toyaku line, it would be essential to keep them well supplied, and for that he would need a road which could keep pace with his men. (Toyaku was holding at least five thousand men for the protracted defense and his front run from the main mountain range of Anopopei to the sea.)
How does Croft kill a wounded man who was groaning in Japanese?
Answer: The wounded man would scream every few seconds, the sound terrifying in the cruel blue light of the flare. Croft picked up a grenade and said that the sonofabitch is making too much noise. He pulled the pin and lobbed the grenade over to the opposite bank. It dropped like a beanbag on one of the bodies, and Croft pulled Gallagher down with him. The explosion was powerful and yet empty like a blast that collapse windowpanes. After a moment, the echoes ceased.
Croft, Red and Gallagher have filled their empty watercans and started to go back. What stopped them walking?
Answer: About twenty-five yards away there was a tiny hollow and in the middle of it three Japanese soldiers were sprawled on the ground.
What was the job of Red in the past?
Answer: He used to be a miner, catches a job as a truck driver and then he switches to a job as night clerk in one of the flophouses on the Bowery.
Why does General Cummings ask Hearn to follow him to his tent the first time?
Answer: He wants to play a game of chess.
What's the bad news that Father Leary told Gallagher?
Answer: Gallagher's wife was pregnant. His wife died in childbirth, but they were able to save his child.
Why enjoyed Minetta himself at the hospital?
It was always very quiet
The wound he had received was hardly more than a scratch, he was able to walk.
He lay in bed comfortably and reads magazines until dark.
It was the first night in six weeks he had been able to sleep without being awakened for guard.
Minetta had a pleasant vague memory of talking to them in the night before the darkness.
What is meant with the last words: 'Hot Dog!'?
Answer: Hot Dog is something of the future. This mission is over, they are going home and the Major thinks ( and the rest of the army with him) what he's going to do when he's back home, he think of an hot dog.
What is the meaning of most soldiers about woman
Page: Whole book
Answer: For example Brown at page 159: They're all the same. You think you can give her a better piece of ass than anybody else? I'll tell you something. You don't know what a good piece means....Tell me something, you ever been laid with your shoes off? Do you think there is anything special about you? There's not a dawn thing special about us, we're just a bunch of GIs. While we're home, and slipping a little meat to them every night, they're all lovey-dovey. There's lots of guys around and pretty soon she lets herself be talked into going out on a date. And then she dances and starts rubbing up against a guy.
The naked and the dead presents a statement not so much about the Second World War, it's about the tensions and conflict of the soldiers. Norman Mailer want to let us see the differences between each American civilian.
3.2 Three Points:
Mailer want to let us see the continuing concern with the political, with the necessity of recognizing that it is in the realm of social power that the destiny of humankind will be worked out in the twentieth century.
Mailer's deep commitment to exploring taboo subjects, especially violence and sexuality, both because they confer on writer a shamanistic power, and because it is in the willingness to take risks that human authenticity is won. So you don't have to be ashamed for these things.
He want to let us see that the greatest enemy is yourself. Because of being lonely the soldiers are going to think of themselves and they are uncertain. They are going to hate themselves, because they think they can't do anything right.
Wilson: He is a big man about thirty years old with a fine mane of golden-brown hair and a healthy ruddy face whose large features were formed cleanly. Incongruously, he wore a pair of round silver-rimmed glasses which gave him at first glance a studious or at least a methodical appearance.
Jack Gallagher: He is a short man with a bunched wiry body that gave the impression of being gnarled and sour. His face, in character with this, was small and ugly, pocked with scars of a severe acne which had left his skin lumpy, spotted with swatches of purple-red. Perhaps it was the color of his face, or it might have been the shape of his long Irish nose, which slanted resentfully to the side, but he always looked wroth. Yet he was only twenty-four. He has a wife, Mary, she is seven months pregnant. Jack tried to remember how she looked and he feels a sense of guilt that he was throwing away money that should have been sent to her. Gallagher longed for the compassion in his wife's eyes. Mary understood him, he told himself. He strained to remember what Mary looked like, but he could not at this moment. It eluded him like the melody of a half-recalled song that kept shifting back into other, more familiar tunes.
Staff Sergeant Croft: He is a lean man of medium height, but he held himself so erectly he appeared tall. His narrow triangular face was utterly without expression under the blue bulb and there seemed nothing wasted in his hard small jaw, gaunt firm cheeks and straight short nose. His thin black hair had indigo glints in which were emphasized by the light and his gelid eyes were very blue.
Levy: One of the orderlies, and he's a Jew.
Sergeant Brown: He is about medium size, a trifle fat with a young boyish face, a snub nose, freckles and reddish-brown hair. But wrinkles has formed about his eye and there were several jungle ulcers on his chin. At a second glance, it was apparent hat he was easily twenty-eight years old. He has a wife and Brown says she is very beautiful.
Arthur Stanley: A tall youth of average build with a long face which looked vain usually and scornful and a little uncertain. He would have been handsome if it had not been for his long nose and sparse black mustache. He was only nineteen.
Sergeant Julio Martinez: He is the scout of the I and R platoon of headquarters company of the 400th Infantry Regiments. He is a slim, small and handsome Mexican with neat wavy hair, small sharp features. His body had the poise and grace of a deer and like a deer his head was never quite still, his brown liquid eyes never completely at rest.
Red: In silhouette against the rail, his profile consisted almost entirely of a large blob of a nose and a low-slung jaw, but in the moonlight this was misleading for it did not show he redness of his skin and hair. His face always seemed boiled and angry except for his eyes, which were quiet, a pale blue marooned by themselves in a web of wrinkles and freckles. When he laughed his teeth showed, big and yellow and crooked, his rough voice braying out with contemptuous inviolate mirth. Everything about him was bony and knobbed, and although he was more than six feet tall, it was unlikely that he weighed one hundred and fifty pounds. His motto: A man had to get out by himself or he became like Hennessey, worrying over every gimcrack in his life. He says that he had always been a loner.
Hennessey: He is a kid who had joined recon only a few weeks before the division's task force had loaded ship for the invasion. Red tells about him: The kind of kid who would put away money for marriage before he even had a girl. It was what you got for following the rule book.
Corporal Toglio: He is a heavy-set Italian, of about middle height with a pear-shaped head which was broader in the jaw than in the temple. His beard darkened al of his face under his eyes except for his mouth, which was wide and friendly. He likes to get things done right.
Oscar Ridges: He has a short powerful body, which was shaped like a squat pillar, for it tapered at neither end. His face is round and dumpy with a long slack jaw that made his mouth gape. His eyes goggled placidly to increase the impression he gave of dull-wittedness and good temper.
Major General Edward Cummings: he is the commander of the troops on the island.
Captain Mantelli: A light-haired man with glasses and a high-pitched merry laugh and a thin face.
Joe Goldstein: He is a man of about twenty-seven with very blond hair and friendly serious blue eyes. Except for the unexpectedly sad lines which ran from is nose to the corners of his mouth, he would have looked like a boy.
Roth: He is a small man with an oddly hunched back and long arms. Everything about him seemed to droop ; he had a long dejected nose and pouches under his eyes; his shoulders slumped forwards. His hair was clipped very short and it accentuated his large ears. Altogether, Roth looked like a frail, mournful ape. He has a child, a handsome boy about two years old . His wife is a plain woman with a pudgy face.
Buddy Wyman: He is a tall, slim youth with light hair and a bony face.
Polack: He has a big lewd mobile mouth and he misses three teeth on the left side of his mouth. Polack was perhaps twenty-one, but his eyes were shrewd and bawdy, and when he laughed his skin was wizened, tough, like the skin of a middle- aged man. He was next to the youngest of seven brothers and sisters, and until he went to an orphanage he had always slept with a blanket spread out on the floor near a coal stove in the center of the room. When the fire died down in the middle of the night the first child to become chilled would get up and fill the stove again. He had washed his own clothing since he was five years old.
Steve Minetta: Minetta was only twenty, but his hair had receded for enough to give him a high forehead. He had developed a thin mustache which he trimmed careful. Once he had been told he looked like William Powell, and he combed his hair to increase the resemblance.
Lieutenant Colonel Conn: He was small, quite old, with a wrinkled face and little eyes set a trifle vacantly under his forehead a though they did not function together. He was almost bald with a patina of gray hair above his neck and over his ears. His nose was large, inflamed an veined with blue filaments.
Lieutenant Robert Hearn: He was a big man with a shock of black hair, a heavy immobile face. His brown eyes imperturbable, stared out coldly above the short blunted and slightly hooked arc of his nose. His wide thin mouth was inexpressive, a top ledge to the solid mass of his chin, and his voice was sharp with a thin contemptuous quality, rather suprising in so big a man.
Lieutenant Colonel Webber: A short fat Dutchman, with a perpetual stupid good-natured grin which he interrupted only to ladle some food in his mouth.
Major Binner, the Adjutant General
Colonel Newton, the Regimental Commander of the 460th: He is a painfully shy man with excellent manners, he's a West Pointer.
Major Binner and Colonel Newton are both tall thin mournful-looking men, with prematurely gray hair, long faces and silver-rimmed eyeglasses. They looked like preachers and they also rarely spoke.
Hobart: He has not been a Regular first sergeant, but almost as good. He never disagreed with anyone above him and never listened to his subordinates. He was plump and cherubic with sullen pouting cheeks and a thin little mouth.
Dalleson: He is even bigger than Hearn. He has a red face, a bull neck and a broken nose. He looked like a professional football player. He even had potentialities for being a good man.
Dalleson and Conn were Regular Army first sergeants, now field officers.
Hobart, Dalleson and Conn have three things in common:
They were first of all red-faced
They all had tight thin little mouths
Worst of all: none of them for even an instant had ever doubted anything they had ever said or done.
Lieutenant Dove: He is six feet two and weighed about 100 pounds, with straight ask-blond hair cut close and a clean pleasant vacuous face.
3.4 Where and when:
It takes place at Anopopei, in The Second World War
3.5 An alternative title:
Feeling naked, it's about the feelings of the soldiers and not especially about the war.
It's a very difficult book, because of the different telling situations. There are chapters:
'The Time Machine', this is about one person in the book, whole his live is mentioned, it's one big flash-back.
'Chorus', this is a sort of stage-play:
POLACK:....... and so on.
At last you have the normal chapters with one person, Norman Mailer, who tells everything about every soldier.
It was also difficult because of the used language. Often it's a dialect and that is difficult to read. There were very difficult sentence, but you could always understand them.
For example: page 12: ' Ah'm makin' an awful mistake, but Ah'll see ya. Translation: I'm making an awful mistake, but I'll see you.
I found it a very special book, because it's not about war, but about the feelings. I think it was very difficult to write this book and I have admiration for the writer. I'm not happy with the woman- discrimination. I think it's too general. Some woman are like that, but not all woman are the same!!!!
The people are fantastic described. Although it's a good book, I found it too long, at the end I thought: finally!
Mailer verhuisde op zijn vierde naar Brooklyn in New York City. Op 16-jarige leeftijd werd hij toegelaten tot Harvard, waar hij in 1943 afstudeerde in luchtvaarttechniek. Een jaar later werd Mailer opgeroepen door het Amerikaanse leger en diende hij als marinier in de Filipijnen tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Gebaseerd op deze ervaringen publiceerde hij in 1948 zijn debuutroman The Naked and the Dead, welke in 1998 werd opgenomen in de lijst van de honderd beste Engelstalige boeken van de 20ste eeuw, opgesteld door de Amerikaanse uitgever Modern Library.
- The Naked and the Dead
- Norman Kingsley Mailer
- Meer boeken van:Norman Kingsley Mailer