Reflecting on Stories

Megan reflects on a novel about a soldier in Iraq.

McCormick, Patricia. Purple Heart. New York City: HarperCollins, 2009.

Purple Heart

“She was back home and ‘sooo scared’ about a pop quiz in bio while he was in Iraq with some traumatic brain injury.”

 Have you ever realized how silly some of our fears and worries are, compared to people living in situations that can threaten their safety?


“Everyday life wasn’t about filling up a gas tank or ordering a bucket of wings. Everyday life was about getting your gas mask on in ten seconds or calibrating the distance between your position and a sniper’s nest.”

Have you ever thought about how different some people’s everyday lives are?


“All he could see was the deep green of the army blanket. He flushed with embarrassment. He had pulled the covers over his head like a baby.”

Why should people feel embarrassed about showing fear or weakness?


“’Any, uh, emotional agitation or any other, uh, problems?’ Matt’s right leg was still weak and out of sync with his left, and he still found himself on the verge of tears half the time. ‘Nope,’ he said. ‘I’m all good.’”

Why do people lie about their state of being, when they could get help to make them better?


“You don’t want to say something you might rethink later.”

 Have you ever said something that you wish you hadn’t said?


This novel, Purple Heart, has changed my view of life because it has made me feel more grateful about my life, and has made me think about how hard other people’s lives can be. I never really knew what soldiers did in the war, because I’ve seen them in movies, fighting in brutal battles, but I’ve also seen them hiding and waiting, with not much action. And this novel painted a picture of what life is like in war for the veterans. They still have fun and mess around like normal people do, but they also have to fight and get injured to save people’s lives. They also have feelings like everyone does. They are still normal people. You think of a soldier, and you picture a very tough, unbreakable person, but they actually get frightened and sad and the war can deeply affect their lives. This fantastic novel has also made me feel even more grateful for our brave veterans fighting in war, because it has shown me all the tragedies they go through to protect people.  

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