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Under Fire Setting & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 99 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Under Fire.
This section contains 1,757 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
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Objects/Places

Poilu

As translator W. Fitzwater Wray notes, poilu is "The popular and international name for a French soldier. Its literal meaning is 'hairy, shaggy,' but the word has conveyed for over a century the idea of the virility of a Samson, whose strength lay in his locks." The chief characters in the novel, beginning in Chapter 2, are poilu, drawn from all backgrounds and types: grumblers, dogged, brave under fire (most in the squad have won the Croix de Guerre) but disobedient on trivial matters of military appearance. Cpl. Bertrand's Squad, belonging to the 6th Battalion, 18th Company, is depicted as "worn-out and trench-foul," sinister troglodytes (cavemen). They are typical, good, simple men torn from the joys of life, ignorant, narrow-minded, common-sensical, long-suffering, instinctive, hoping to survive and again enjoy life. The poilu resent "shirkers," both civilian and in uniform, assigned to safe rear-guard areas.

Ablain-Saint-Nazaire

A long...

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This section contains 1,757 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Under Fire Study Guide
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Under Fire from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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