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The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer – Overview

The-Naked-and-the-DeadThe Naked and the Dead – Overview

The Naked and the Dead is a novel by Norman Mailer, the novel was based on his experience with the participation in the Philipines campaign during World War II, with the 112th Cavalry Regiment. This novel was written in 1948, the novel was later filmized under the same title name in 1958.

In 1998, The Naked and the Dead was ranked 51st on the list of 100 best novels written in the English language of the twentieth century by the Modern Library.

This novel is divided into four parts which contain subsections consisting of play-like dialogues among characters and as well as time machine section. The four parts are Plant and Phantom, Argil and Mold, Wave and Wake. The novel gives a brief historical review about the lives of four characters.

Part one, Wave:

The bombardment is happening and the men are driven to the invasion shore through the boat. Here, the men fire to fight the Japanese. Hennessey is so frightened that he peers into his pants. After having a panic attack he runs out of his position and is killed by a grenade. Part one is concluded by his death and it is terrifying for others soldiers to see his as he is the first comrade.

Argil and Mold Part Two:

General Cumming like Lieutenant Hearn the only officer with whom he had many discussions. At one point in the war, they took a prisoner of Japanese soldiers, Gallagher gives a cigarette to Japanese to some, and when he closes his eyes Croft kills him explaining his cold-blooded personality. Later, Gallagher receives the news that her wife died during childbirth, but the child survived and he overcoming his grief over this loss in the rest of the novel.

Plant and Phantom, Part Three:

Hearn is assigned by General to walk through the jungle and find a way towards the behind of enemy. Wilson is shot and is left behind Croft send men to carry Wilson on a stretcher. This trip goes on for several days and Wilson dies.

Croft walks Hearn into an ambush and he is killed leaving Croft in charge. Many men follow Crofts order of climbing up the mountain even though they don’t like it. When they reach the top they came to know that they have won the island and they are happy. And they talk about what they will do when they return home.

Wake, Part Four:

This is a short part Cumming is disappointed by the war because he cannot take the credit. As Major, Dalleson was in-charge for only one day and he took credit by following the established procedures.