, Research Paper
During his military career Major Harold Coyle witnessed the gruesome power of war, and took these experiences to write the riveting novel Trial by Fire. Trial by Fire is the telling of a war between Mexico and The United States of America. In the course of the novel the death, the words, the sights, and the feelings that both sides of the war experience slap the reader in the face. On the Mexican’s side, the reader sees the war through the mind of Col. Alfredo Guajardo, commander of the Mexican forces, and the on the American’s side the reader sees the war through the mind of Lt. Nancy Kozak, first female battalion leader to go to war. While the reader learns of the brutality of war for the armed forces, he also learns of the brutality of living in the poverty of Mexico. Because of Coyle’s personal experiences, he is able to write a grotesquely descriptive novel with very original characters. When finished with the novel, the reader is going to have a vivid picture of real-life war. The following paragraph shows how much description is in the novel: “Morrezo never heard the report from Lefleur’s rifle. Nor did he feel the impact of the hollow-point round as it struck the base of his skull. And even if he did feel the impact, it was only for the briefest time, for the bullet struck true, doing what it was designed to do. Penetrating the skull bone at a slightly upward angle, the soft lead of the bullet pushed a chunk of shattered bone in front of it. As the bullet and the chunk of bone continued forward, the bullet began to slow down, spreading out into a wad the size of a quarter. In a single, continuos motion, this wad, with the bone chunk in front of it, began ripping through the soft brain tissue that stood in its path, compacting the tissue that wasn’t pushed to either side of the moving mass against the bone plate that formed the forehead. When the pressure of ever expanding mass of bullet, bone, and brain tissue became to great, the front plates of Morrezo’s skull, from his hairline down to the base of his nose, blew out, freeing the wadded bullet from the mass of bone and brain tissue that had obstructed its flight path. The wadded bullet momentarily accelerated as the obstructions fell away and traveled a little further before finally falling to the ground. Morezzo, however, was dead before that happened.” (270). While the words sink into the reader’s mind, he will be able to recall a picture full of realness, color, and details. The graphic content in the book causes many readers to take a new viewpoint on war. Describing an action such as this requires the experiences that Coyle and his comrades witnessed in battle. While many people believe description makes a story boring, this novel proves them wrong. Besides the descriptions of the actions being vivid and crystal-clear, the descriptions of his characters are also.
While being the only female commanding officer in battle, Lt. Nancy Kozak brings forward a totally new look on war from a feminine viewpoint. During the coarse of the novel Kozak has to face her first battle, the deaths of her comrades, the hazing of female and new officers, and the challenges that females would face while traveling in a Bradley for six months. Because of Kozak’s good looks, they put her into situations where she has to make quick decisions that could affect her career as well as affecting the careers of any enlisted females to come. Kozak is smart, calm, and independent, which all help her in the battlefield. Even though she has many things packed on her shoulders, she remains stable and keeps herself thinking straight even in the heart of the battle. Although Kozak is an essential character in the plot, she symbolizes Coyle’s views on controversial topics in the real world. It is scary thinking that the United States of America may one day go to war with Mexico, but it is something that the reader will keep in the back of his mind for a long time. In stead of stating his ideas in an essay, Coyle uses Trial by Fire to express his ideas on topics in today’s world: women in the military, the rightfulness of communism, and the power of drug lords in this world. Because of Coyle going to war, he is able to describe things he most likely would not be able to do otherwise. Trial by fire is Coyle’s way of bringing war to people without the consequences and costs. All in all Coyle uses his experiences and skills to bring war and his opinions to people in a way that does not raise controversies, while raising thoughts and ideas. One of the individual characteristics of Coyle’s Trial by Fire is the use of quotes at the beginning of every chapter. The quotes bring thought, laughter, meaning, and history to the reader, in a small and enjoyable way. Because of the graphic descriptions in the book, Trial by Fire is not for young children or people with weak stomachs. While the width of the book may be intimidating, the book is well written and not the least bit boring. Lastly, the story line of the book will leave any reader not wanting to put the book down.