Introduction & Overview of The Deserter

Norman Beim
This Study Guide consists of approximately 26 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Deserter.
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The Deserter Summary & Study Guide Description

The Deserter Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on The Deserter by Norman Beim.

Norman Beim's play The Deserter was first produced in the United States in 1978. The play was inspired by The Execution of Private Slovik, a 1974 book by William Bradford Huie. The book exposed the details of the execution of Private Eddie D. Slovik, the only American soldier executed for desertion during World War II. The play was also inspired by Beim's own experiences as an infantryman during World War II. Like the unnamed soldier in The Deserter, Beim also had qualms about killing enemy soldiers. Like many of Beim's dramatic works, The Deserter is a short play. Although the critics have not offered much commentary on the play, it earned first place in the 1978 Samuel French competition and continues to be produced throughout the United States.

The play's three main themes—desertion, cowardice, and religious beliefs during war—all combine to create a strong antiwar message. The soldier's descriptions of the horrors of war, coupled with his open and honest desire to survive and take care of his family, help to justify his actions and condemn war. The antiwar play was timely when it was first performed in 1978, since the United States had withdrawn from the unpopular Vietnam War only five years earlier. During the Vietnam War, various people organized a massive antiwar movement in the United States. During this movement, several American citizens were killed or wounded by American soldiers while trying to protest the war. A current copy of The Deserter can be found in Six Award Winning Plays.

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This section contains 252 words
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The Deserter from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.