Company K

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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The Value of Life Going to war completely throws a curve ball into your point of view. Before you left home you may not have harmed a fly. On the other hand, when on the frontline it is kill or be killed. During wartime there are many people who do not believe in the quality of life, while there are others who believe it but do not act on their beliefs.

Two privates, in the novel Company K, came upon the same situation, and both of the privates acted differently. Private Drury could barely bring himself to kill prisoners, while Private Murdy did not hesitate when he was ordered to open fire. When Private Drury was given the order to open fire by Corporal Foster he hesitated. "No, no.----I won't do it"¦." (March 129). He hesitated since the beginning of the prisoner massacre. On the other hand, Private Murdy was looking forward to it.

He enjoyed it so much that he wanted to go see it again. Private Murdy says, "Then I had an irresistible desire to go to the ravine and look at the prisoners again" (136) this and the fact that he spent most of the first half of the story cleaning his gun tend to make the reader believe that he enjoyed killing the prisoners.

Private Drury was so determined not to shoot the prisoners that he put his own life on the line in order to prevent others from dying. "I would be picked up by the military police sooner or later and tried as a deserter. That was inevitable, I knew"¦" (129) is just proof that his value was straight on. On the other hand, Private Murdy was very happy about his actions. When he states "I kept seeing those prisoners falling and rising...