Just as Chris and the platoon are divided between Elias and Barnes, viewers also feel somewhat divided. You feel compelled to side with Elias because he is jaded and righteous and seems to care about his men, but you can't help but admire Barnes' hardiness, his determination to win the war and ability to survive.
After our class discussion about allegory, the Christ figure and Machiavelli, as well as the inability of humans to be purely good or evil, you understand that this is a decision that is not as easy as one might hope.
Imagine that you are a soldier in this platoon. Who do you follow, Sgt. Barnes or Sgt. Elias? Take into consideration all factors: survival, morality, reality of the war environment, psychological effects of the war, constant extreme stress, and any other factors that would affect your decision. Explain your decision in a thoughtful and well supported blog entry.
PLEASE ADD WORD COUNT AT END OF EACH BLOG ENTRY!
Primary Blog Entry Expectations (respond to the prompt above): 200-250 words, minimal errors in grammar and usage, thoughtful and thorough writing. Please use the assigned "pen name" given to you in class.
Secondary Blog Entry Expectations (read everyone's first responses, select two that interest you, and respond to their ideas): 100-150 words EACH, minimal errors in grammar and usage, thoughtful and thorough writing. Please use the assigned "pen name" given to you in class.
(3 total blog entries for this assignment)
2/26/2015 11:51:47 pm
If I had to choose which person I would follow I would have to say Sgt. Elias. Elias comes off to be the type to be there for the solders and actually care but then again he also seems like the type to be heroic when it comes to the war. He may not seem like the type to keep his men out there to stay and fight, but he would fight for what he believes in and he will fight for his country with no problem. Before Elias was killed he was willing to sacrifice himself to the Koreans if that meant that he was protecting the people he cared about. When he told Chris that he was going by himself to ambush the Koreans, which was kind of a way of telling him that he was doing this to protect them. In Elias’s mind he figured he would die fighting in the war not by someone who he was fighting alongside with in the war. I feel like Elias had planned how he wanted to die when going into the war and being killed by someone you have problems with doesn’t seems like the way to go, especially when you are on the same side. I choose Elias because he seems to have more to offer than people may see or want to see.
2/27/2015 12:01:47 am
I agree with your post, I believe Elias was the strongest one because he cared so much about his soldiers and even the innocent people in the Vietnam war. He had more to offer than Barnes. Barnes had more anger and took it out on his men. Elias excepted the fact that they might not win the war and did as much as he can to save his men.
2/27/2015 12:11:57 am
I do agree Elias cared more and was the strongest out of him and Barnes in a mental state. More because he didn't let the war making him not have his humanity because he wasn't in the states no more he kept his heart even in a place like that. Elias could offer more than intimidation like Barnes. He could offer skills, affection of what they were going through and not just tell them to toughing up. Elias did no they weren't going to win the war not this time but he was going to do everything in his power to try to change that he still was going to give a 100 and not give
2/27/2015 12:01:54 am
I agree with you. Elias has more stability than Barnes, maybe not physically, but emotionally and mentally which is very important during war action. He has more courage and believes that the right thing should be done. He doesn't seem the type to turn on his men as Barnes would.
3/2/2015 10:52:33 pm
I slightly disagree with your post, personally I believe that Barnes has a lot to offer just for the simple reason that he understands what the war is about, He understands that fighting is necessary and risking your life is a big part of that. He understands that death is a part of war and if you are involved, then you are put at risk for it. I believe that Barnes has the better mindset so that's why he would be a better leader.
3/3/2015 02:36:06 am
I agree that Elias was heroic and way more moral than Barnes, he was strong minded and he believed in his cause and men. Elias was still as strong in war as Barnes and still wanted to win the war just as much as Barnes but he didn’t let the war get to him, unlike Barnes where he was so messed up from the war he could rape and kill innocent people. Elias couldn’t bring himself to this level he looked at the war as helping the innocent Vietnamese from the Vietcong and that was it, which was why he was so heroic. Elias taught his men his morals and skills and showed them that war isn’t just kill, kill, kill and there’s more to it especially in a platoon setting that having this brotherhood only made them stronger because they wanted to stay together just as Elias would and even when Barnes killed him he lived on in the men that learned from him.
3/3/2015 03:36:18 pm
I agree with the blog response with following Elias because he showed very true loyalty and strength as well as being a leader for all of his soldiers by his side until the end of life. The writers also talks about how Elias was willing to sacrifice himself to the Koreans and that shows how loyal he is to his men and also his country. The writers also says Elias seems like he has more to give as a leader and I think its true hes a very respectable leaders and he dies for his country doing the right thing and he lost his life to a man with no fear or other wise a criminal (116)
2/26/2015 11:57:23 pm
The men were full of rage due to all the stressful things they had to go through during the war. The Vietnam War was the toughest war to overcome. Many soldiers got killed in action, which means loved ones had to hear and try to handle this news. The sergeant I would pick would be Elias due to his loyalty and strength to do the right thing. Elias has this power to make being in the army fun, and stress free about this tragic war. He shows he actually cares about people and what’s right. Sergeant Barnes showed he didn’t care about his men because he didn’t care about them dying. All he cared about was winning the war and making sure he stays alive because “Only I can kill myself.”(Barnes) Barnes showed he was untrustworthy to Chris when he lied to him saying Elias was killed in action when Elias was alive and wounded shot due to Barnes wanting him dead. Elias was very brave sacrificing himself by going alone in the wilderness trying to kill men. At that moment that’s when Barnes came and seen him, and shot him due to multiple arguments and not getting along. At that very scene shows me, and should show everyone that Barnes is the untrustworthy one and Elias was the brave, trustworthy, and strong sergeant who tried doing things the right way. That is why I would choose Elias over Barnes.
2/27/2015 12:05:27 am
I agree with your post, Barnes is self centered and doesn't care about his squad as much as he should. Elias did everything he could to protect his squad even if it meant sacrificing himself to kill a few people on the other side, he didn't mind it as long as he knew he'd tried to do whatever he could. He was brave and courageous, something Barnes couldn't be.
2/27/2015 12:08:40 am
I understand what you are saying about Elias being trust worthy. But I feel that Barnes (even though I too choose Elias) is a better warrior. Elias has a good head on his shoulder's and is compassionate when it comes to his men you know? He would have himself killed before his men die. But Barnes wanted all of his men to survive with him. I feel he would do the same as Elias and lay down first for his men but he would rather them all make it with him before he has to die first.
3/3/2015 02:54:30 am
I agree that Elias was loyal and strong. Elias had everything that Barnes did not, he was kind and moral and strategic so that he would lose less men, he would rather himself die that one of his men and I admired this alot. Elias was not only loyal and strong but he was also heroic, like when he got into a fight with Barnes because he killed innocent women and almost killed the child, I think that was the point in the movie where I really decided that Elias was not only a better srgt but also a better person then Barnes and made Elias heroic because even though he was still mad about the loss of his men his still knew better than to take it out on innocent people.
2/26/2015 11:58:14 pm
All of the guys in the movie “Platoon” were each fighting for their lives as well as their people’s safety. The war can have certain effects to soldiers and how they deal and act on things as they come, so each person is going to be different. I believe that SGT. Elias would be best to follow. Although Barnes is a hard and good tough fighter, he still seems self-centered with himself. I feel like he likes to be in control, likes to have people taking orders from him whether right or wrong and people following him around. Barnes is the type of guy that would rather do things his way, or no way at all. SGT. Elias is different in the other hand, better of course. Elias has more loyalty that lies with him as well as trustworthiness and admiration. He cares for his squad like he should. He doesn’t turn on them and decide to frag them on his own. He’s a good role model to follow and that soldiers can learn from. Elias cares more about others and working together rather than working on his own. Despite thinking Elias is good to follow, I think that if they both combine there moralities and settle their differences with one another, they’d be even better and more sufficient at things in action together as one. A full squad shouldn’t be divided as it was.
2/27/2015 12:05:26 am
I agree with you, Elias was the best Sergeant in this movie. He showed sacrifice, bravery, and honesty. He believed in his men, and believed in what's the right thing to do with other human being's. Barnes only cared about himself, so why would anyone pick Barnes? Elias was the way to go for a leader.
2/27/2015 12:11:57 am
Like I said on a prior post, even though I choose Elias Barnes is the better fighter. Yes he is stubborn but he didn't tell O'Neil to be up his ass with the lighter to light his smokes. People choose to become pudding under Barnes's eyes. He is the way he is because he wants to win the war to get revenge for the deaths that he has witness (I conjured this up out of my own thoughts).
3/2/2015 10:55:42 pm
I disagree with your choice. I believe that Barnes, like you said, is the hard and tough fighter. with that being said, I don't understand if you were put into war and had to survive, why would you choose the weaker link? Barnes understood that war is a game and everyone is going to die at some point, The thing is, until he dies he would have been a strong leader who had a great war mindset.
2/26/2015 11:59:04 pm
I think I would follow Sgt. Elias because he seems to be in control of his emotions. Elias seems to have a reality on the war he knows that it makes people crazy, testy, and cod. He sees the war basically like community service they are all there to do their time and follow the rules and just go on home. Elias has very good survival skills, when he is in the forest he moves silently (because he is a small guy) and he is aware of all that is around him that is important to have in a war where you are vulnerable in. When Barnes brought his men into My Lai and rounded up all of the people (his men killing some in the process) Barnes had shot a farmer’s wife right in front of the whole village who sat in the pig pen. Barnes wanted the farmer to talk so he pointed a gun to the farmer’s daughter’s face ready to kill her, and Elias comes in. Elias’s grip on morality is perfect, he understands that they were in a war but killing people who have nothing to do with it isn’t right. So Elias fights Barnes in front of the men and the villager’s I feel he did that because it was a way of Elias showing Barnes that reality is a grip away, you know? That these people are still human no matter if they are innocence’s of the enemy.
3/2/2015 10:00:52 am
I agree with you I think Elias would be the person I would follow too. Everything that you said makes sense because he was the one to care about others to the point where he didn't want no one to get hurt.He seemed like he didn't want to use violence unless necessary, like the fight with Barnes. I believe that he did that for a reason too, just like you. He fought for what he believed in and that war meant everything to him.
2/27/2015 12:02:20 am
Elias and Barnes both seem like somewhat good leaders. Elias cares for his men and Barnes is a charge the enemy type of leader; however, Barnes is ruthless and out of control. Barnes murder innocent people in the village nearby and his men were raping innocent little girls. Elias was the person that stopped the rape and fought Barnes for his brutality against the villagers. It angered me so much every time Barnes did something immoral. I choose to follow Elias because he is a good example for soldiers to follow. Americans were sent in to the war to help the innocent South Vietnamese. Barnes forgets this throughout his time in Vietnam. In a way he becomes just like the North Vietnamese. He becomes someone that the villagers should fear.
2/27/2015 05:52:29 am
I agree. But Elias was more stronger in combat then Barnes.
2/27/2015 12:05:05 am
I was a solider in the war of Vietnam I would most likely follow the lead of sgt. Elias because I feel as if he really had the intention and motivation to save his self but more of the men in his platoon. He thought outside the box and I feel like when things got really bad he would have tried to motivate the men instead of doing what Barnes did. This was telling them that everyone has to die really saying that this just might be their time to go. Also sgt. Elias is a more of a do what your told follow the rules guy but also being human about it and not doing things out revenge and evilness like Barnes when he shot the women for yelling at them for killing their pigs for no reason and then also him almost taking a childes life .i know being there in Vietnam must be very very stressful for them and would be for me to but I would need to and want to follow Elias because he could help me stay alive and be better solider. But also more important not lose myself and what I was taught growing up. Which is that they might meaning those people might not look like me or be my nationality but the do feel the same they are human to so treat them like it to and not just try to get advantage and not using the excuse that I’m so stressed out I need this I need to kill and I should be able to cause I have the gun to do it. It’s just not right will never be right no matter what situation unless they harm you.
3/2/2015 10:15:43 am
I agree with you completely with Elias having motivation for him and his platoon. Elias was the type to follow all the rules no matter what. He wanted to do things by the book so that way there was less chance of people actually getting hurt. I think that is why so many people looked up to him in the platoon. I also believe that is why so many had a hard time dealing with his death. I think this is what we both can say we agree upon with this and why we understand Elias so much.
2/27/2015 12:07:03 am
If I was in the war I’d follow Sgt. Elias. To me he seems as a better leader but also a better supporter. For example if you were in a hole by yourself and someone was trying to creep up on you to kill you, Elias would shoot them and tell you to man your station better. Sgt. Barnes would let you get killed/wounded because if you can let yourself be unprotected then you can let the “Machine” go unprotected. I also feel like Elias has a better moral compass than Barnes. When they went into that village and Barnes started killing harmless people because he thought they were VC, I felt as though he was doing it just for fun. Elias would’ve probably just taken them as hostages instead of killing people who seemed as though they had no parts in the war. If I was on Barnes team I would’ve probably purposely gotten wounded so I would be able to leave. Sgt. Barnes in the movie was on a power trip, he didn’t care who was killed as long as he was good. Sgt. Elias looked at himself as one with his crew, instead of just ordering them around he made sure everyone that was under him was good. (211)
2/27/2015 05:51:06 am
s is a more supportive and strong soldier. He's honest and active and knows what he's doing.
2/27/2015 12:09:38 am
If I was a soldier in the Vietnam War, I would defiantly follow Elias. The reason why I would follow Elias is because Elias wanted to win the war but he wanted to win the war without the slaughtering of innocent people, while barns would do anything to win the war including killing rebellious solders on his team. Another reason why id follow Elias is because he is a good leader, For example when he went to go flank the enemy Chris asked Elias if he could go with him, and he replied with “I move faster alone” which leads me to believe that Elias did not want to risk the life of his comrades just in case things didn’t go as planned, and that is what a good leader does, which is making life threatening choices to keep his teammates alive, while barns simply saw his solders as nothing more than bait, what leads me to believe this is, when that guy wants to go home to Hawaii with his girl, and barns told him no, and he replied with ‘I got a bad feeling about this, I don’t I’m going to make it out’ and all barns told him was “everybody has to die some time” which shows that Barns doesn’t care who dies in the war, as long as he wins the war that’s all that matters. My final reason why id follow Elias over Barns is because Barns is just an angry person, what shows me this is when he is beating the dead Vietnam solder Chris tried to stop him and Barns hit him and was about to kill him, and right before the napalm hit, you could see the fire reflect in his eyes but I feel like that it represented that Barns was an evil selfish man. That is why I would follow Elias over Barns. Words (313)
2/27/2015 12:10:55 am
I would follow Sgt. Elias in the Vietnam War because he represents compassion and goodness, which he believes a military victory in Vietnam is not possible. He also believes in winning hearts and minds instead of killing and murdering. He even risk his own life to make sure that his men are safe and out of harm’s way. For example, while in the jungles, Elias told his men to stay their grounds and one of the soldiers, Taylor, asked if he can come but Elias told him no. The reason he said no was because he not only wants Taylor to stay with the other men in case the Viet Cong. flanks them, but he wants him to stay alive and not worry about what happens to him. He shows compassion when he starts arguing and fighting with Barnes after he shot the chief’s wife and held the chief’s daughter at gunpoint, threatening to shoot her if the chief didn’t give Barnes information about the Viet Cong. That shows that Elias cares about the moral code because he knows that soldiers aren’t suppose to kill or hurt innocent civilians, and even if he’s suppose to follow direct orders, he still will save innocents civilians from harm’s way, even if it jeopardies his mission. (213)
2/27/2015 12:12:58 am
If I was a soldier in this platoon, the person I would follow would have to be Elias because he’s plan didn’t get his team killed as much. I wouldn’t follow Barnes even if he came from hell and back just to save us because I might still lose a friend in the process of following him. For example, the scene when they find one of the soldiers killed on a tree by the enemy, it was Barnes who gave him the order to stand guard with no back up in sight. If he was following Elias he would’ve survive and probably been in the movie a little longer. Another reason I wouldn’t follow Barnes is that when he shot Elias, Barnes seen that he was alive so he just left him to die, so think about if you was in that position I would you feel if they left you to die. When you disagree with Barnes he feels you’re not needed anymore so he feels that he has to kill you to protect his own skin. Elias seen like a cool person to be around and had a plan to get by enemy line, an example of that when he went down that fox hole to get a better idea of how they operate. That is why I would follow Elias because he always have a plan to get his soldiers home.
2/27/2015 12:13:26 am
If I was put in a position where I had to choose whether I would like to follow under the wing of Sgt. Elias or Sgt. Barnes, I feel like I would choose Sgt. Barnes. Although many people may believe that he wasn’t the best leader, he understood what he was there to accomplish. Sgt. Barnes knew that the goal was to keep his men alive and still follow the orders he was given. Barnes may have not gone about every situation the right way but essentially he understood how the war scene was. For instance when he said “Everyone has to die at some point’ he has the understanding that you’re not going to be able to live forever anyways. Sgt. Barnes has the mindset that you need in the war because if you’re not mentally tough in the war, then you’re not going to be physically tough either. If you are too worried about dying and not worrying about what you have to do then your chance of success in the war is a lot slimmer. So if I had to choose I say that the best bet to stay safe and have a good understanding of what you’re going to do you should side with Barnes.
3/1/2015 02:32:22 pm
I would have to disagree with your decision. I feel as though Barnes had no regard for his other soldiers. Granted his mindset did make sense but he was willing to sacrifice every single one of his mates if it meant him coming out on top. Which then leads me to believe that you wouldn't have made it to the end because you would've followed every order given to you by Barnes not realizing that most of the time he's in a way sending you on a suicide mission, especially since "everyone has to die at some point" right?
2/27/2015 05:49:47 am
If I had to choose between Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias Honestly I would follow Sgt. Barnes because he is a very good leader and knows how to lead a troop but at the same times Sgt. Elias is very caring and cares about what would or could happen in a very bad situation. Barnes is the type of guy who would be on your behind about being safe and watching your surroundings, which in a war like the Vietnams War is very important because you have guys who hide in little ditches and ect. Elias is also the one who shows his troops more love and knows how to take care of things in a calm manner. Barnes is the type of leader that is never calm, always in rage, and when he try’s to take care of things he’s not calm he always yells and try’s to get his point across the way he wants to. Barnes cares a lot about trying to get through the war with all his men uninjured. Elias was very brave to enter the war by himself. I believe Barnes was jealous that just about all the troopers showed more respect to Elias because he was more fun and trustworthy. Word count:207
2/28/2015 03:31:22 am
I would have to disagree because I feel Elias is the better leader and would have gotten more soldiers out of Vietnam than Barnes. Barnes seems like the type of guy who would use his own soldiers to save his own skin and wouldn't regret it. Elias wasn't a murder who walked in villages and burned them down without getting answer first. That is why I believe Elias is a better leader.
3/1/2015 02:35:28 pm
I disagree with you, I feel Barnes was about killing his possible opponent not winning the war. Whenever he felt something was in the way of the structure he wanted he took them out without a second thought. Which is proven with Elias, he killed his own mate because he felt his structure was being disturbed.
2/27/2015 05:50:04 am
2/27/2015 05:55:20 am
I disagree, I feel that yes Elias was very caring and had a big heart but he's not the type to lead a troop, only because he is very layed back and quite. When Barnes just want to make it out alive and win.
2/27/2015 11:22:24 am
If I was a soldier in this platoon, the person I would follow would have to be Barnes because he is a great leader that wants to win the war and survive. Barnes is a survivor that just won’t die, he been through hell and back. I would like to follow him because if he been through hell and back, I would like to have the ability and power to not die while I’m in the Vietnam War. If I follow him I think I will have a better chance of survival during this Vietnam War. If I followed Barnes it will make the Vietnam War more interesting because you can do whatever you want with no rules or consequences. Barnes has been in the war long enough to have great and amazing strategy, he is considered a vet in the war and more experience. Since a lot of soldiers follow Barnes then I will have a better chance of survival. I don’t think I would like to follow Elias because Elias goes by the book even though he’s a great Sargent. Going by the book can get you killed in some ways so that’s why Banes is a good influence and he likes to improvise while on the battles field help to win the war. 216 words
3/1/2015 10:21:10 am
I would have to disagree, because just because your a vet doesn't mean you know everything, you may know the basic tricks to keep your self alive but technically not enough to try to keep everyone and yourself alive.
3/1/2015 03:00:27 am
I disagree because although Barnes does want to win the war and survive, he shouldn’t be going around killing innocence villagers and using a child as a means to get information. Barnes took it too far by killing the chief’s wife when she didn’t do anything wrong. I feel that Elias is a better leader because all he cares about is not just the moral codes, but his comrades who are trying to make it out of the war. Unlike Barnes, Elias wouldn’t go around trying to kill a villager to get information on the whereabouts of the Viet Cong. (100)
3/2/2015 02:42:21 am
I would choose to follow under Elias because he was always moral even he was in a war, a place where he was expected to do things that weren’t always moral he was expected to kill and murder and pretty much hunt people down, but there is no such thing as a moral war, but there is such thing as a good person and a good mind set. I Feel like Elias mind even in war is at the right place, he is looking out for the best way to keep his men alive, he still wants to win the war but he knows that his platoons life’s are more valuable than the honor of the war and I feel like this would suit me well because I am the type of person that it’s not easy to build a bound with but once it’s there it is unbreakable and we can fight together and my main goal will be that everyone gets out safe. Elias also makes it a point to not kill any innocent people such as women and children, this is unlike Barnes where he just wanted to win so badly he was very willing to kill innocent people like burning down that village and raping the young girls, which Elias doing the right thing had literally fought him and court martialled him for this because he knew it was wrong and I admire this because I wouldn’t want to hurt innocents either it would haunt me and it’s something I wouldn’t forgive myself for so I admire this he stood up for the right thing and that’s why I would follow him manly for his morals and love and appreciation for his men. (287)
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