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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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CHAMBERLAIN (Chapter 6 of Part IV)


Chamberlain looks over the corpse-ridden field and discusses the Rebelsí bravery with Tom. Tom canít understand how so many men can march to their death in support of slavery, and Chamberlain deliberates on Kilrainís theory that there was no divine spark. But when he looks out over the dead, he considers them all equal in Godís eyes.

Chamberlain remembers the breathtaking sight of the columns of the enemy and remembers the strange beauty he saw in it. That night the rains came and washed away the blood from the field. The next day was the Fourth of July.



"He remembered with awe the clean green fields of morning, the splendid yellow wheat. This was another world." (p.341)


"...he could sit and look out across the battlefield at dusk. It was like the gray floor of hell. Parties moved with yellow lights through blowing smoke under a low gray sky, moving from black lump to black lump..." (p.341) Simile.


"But he thought of Aristotle: pity and terror." (p.342)


"The true rain came...cleansing the earth." (p.344) Rain symbolizes rebirth.

Major Theme

Duty (family vs. state)

"Chamberlain remembered using the boy [his little brother] to plug a hole in the line, stopping the hole with his own brotherís body like a warm, bloody cork, and Chamberlain looked at himself. It was so natural and clear, the right thing to do: fill the gap with the body of my brother. Therefore Tom would have to go, and Chamberlain told himself: Run the boy away from you, because if he stays with you heíll die." (p.342)

Minor Themes

War Truths (war is exhilarating):

"It [the battle] was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen." (p.342)


"He [Chamberlain] stared at the boy [his brother] in the darkness, felt an incredible love, reached out to touch him, stopped himself." (p.343)

Idealism vs. Realism:

"He [Chamberlain] had forgotten the Cause. When the guns began firing he had forgotten it completely. It seemed very strange now to think of morality." (p.343)

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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara


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