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Fallen Angels | Study Guide

Walter Dean Myers

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Fallen Angels | Chapter 23 | Summary



Perry wakes up in the hospital, where Peewee has already been rushed into surgery. Monaco is there, talking to Perry until the doctors take him into surgery. Perry wakes up and finds Peewee, who has been hurt badly enough to be sent back to the United States. Monaco is not injured badly, and he receives orders to return to their squad. The doctors in the hospital find Perry's medical profile and give him orders to return home at the same time as Peewee, who has already had a second surgery on his stomach. Before they leave, Perry asks a sergeant to look up the nurse he met on the plane coming to Vietnam. She was stationed at a field hospital that was hit by artillery, and she did not survive. On the plane back, Peewee and Perry hold hands as they struggle to believe they are headed back to the "world." Peewee falls asleep, and Perry's mind wanders to the men still in Vietnam and the men who had fallen.


The novel concludes with the discovery of Perry's medical profile, which should have prevented him from ever going to war in Vietnam. Perry does not react bitterly to this turn of events; he is simply relieved that he does not have to go back to the war.

When Lieutenant Gearhart calls Perry and Peewee, he tells them that the rest of the squad is "alright." Monaco is sent back to join the squad as he too is "alright." Hearing this, Perry thinks about how none of the men are truly "alright." Although they may be physically capable of fighting a war, none of them are currently in a healthy psychological state. Perry says, "We had tasted what it was like being dead," and in Perry's mind, that did not make them truly fit for combat. At the same time, Perry and Peewee aren't "alright" for the real world either. On the plane, Perry feels "self-conscious, as if I shouldn't be there." As he leaves, he thinks about the men still in Vietnam and the men who will never return home. The psychological scars that Perry carries—and his doubt about whether those scars will ever leave him—accurately mirror the trauma faced by real Vietnam War veterans, many of whom suffered the effects of physical and psychological trauma for the rest of their lives.

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