The Killer Angels Name: Period:

Themes in The Killer Angels
Keep these themes in mind as you read and take notes. Find examples of these themes as they emerge in the novel.
1. War can dehumanize humanity, and yet war has a human face; indeed, man is a killer angel.
2. War is both a builder and a divider of men.
3. War demonstrates man at his best and man at his worst. It is both ennobling and debasing at the same time.
4. War changes men, and war changes mankind.
5. Those who command face a harsh truth which Lee refers to as the “great trap of soldiering”: “To be a good soldier,
you must love the army. But to be a good officer, you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love…”
6. Honor is everything, but honor can be costly. (Garnett, Lee, Longstreet)
7. There is a fine line between the defense of honor, the feeling of pride, and the exhibition of hubris. (Lee, Pickett,
Garnett, Armistead, Longstreet)
8. Neither side can claim all of the moral high ground; the truth is that there are good men fighting on both sides.
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