Literature and Society
6th August, 2018
Apocalypse now opens up in Saigon in 1968. Benjamin Willard, an intelligence captain and army officer, who’s intoxicated but extremely eager to get back into the army, is escorted by two officers to Nah Trang. They each give him a briefing on a man whom his mission was assigned to, Walter E Kurtz. Walter was a rogue Green Beret Colonel, who became fairly crazy and off the rails, and commited murder with the help of the Native Montagnard army.
Williard joined a naval patrol river boat and ferried him up to the Nung River in Cambodia. The crew they traveled with consisted of Chief, Chef, Lance, and Clean. They go to the Ninth Air Calvary, and travel to the depths of the river. They find themselves caught in a B-52 bomber strike. Kilgore commands an air attacks on a village controlled by the Viet-Cong. Chef and Williard explore the forest, looking for mangoes and encounter a tiger, giving chef a panic attack. They manage to escape and continue making their way up the river, making them that much more reluctant to venture into the river again.
Further up the river, the crew stops at a U.S. base supply depot. They collect fuel, cigarettes, and other basic supplies for themselves. While they’re at the base, they drop three playboy “playmates” for a USO, United Service Organization, who perform to the song Suzie Q. After that, they all return to the PBR and monitior/guard the river from upcoming boats and ships. The chief decides one day to stop a sampan. A sampan is a boat carrying several small Vietnamese peasants and supplies in it. The chief orders chef to inspect the boat, and chef is ordered by the chief to look in a rusty yellow can in the boat. When he leans in to look at the can this lady is sitting on, the woman makes a sudden movement, and Clean, out of alarm, fires at and kills everyone except the woman. The soldiers bring her on board and prepare on taking him to a close hospital, when Willard walks towards her and shoots her in the chest, killing her just so they didn’t have to take a detour from their trip. Many of the soldiers see him differently after that moment.
The crew keeps heading upriver, and come face to face with a surprise attack from the natives, and get arrows shot at them by the natives. While fighting the natives, the chief gets impaled with a spear and killed. After continuing further upstream, the men finally reached Kurtz camp. The camp looks pretty disheveled and for the most part abandoned, with many bodies and heads that had been cut off laying all around the area. When they arrived, Willard and Lance left the boat to go look for Kurtz, and leave Chef behind, telling him to call in an air strike if they aren’t back at the boat by a certain time.
Through Kurtz’s orders, the natives find and capture Willard and Lance. They drag them through the mud in the forest, and Willard ends up finding himself sitting face to face with Kurtz imprisoned in a tiger cage. In the middle of the night, Kurt throws Chef’s severed head at Willard’s lap. The next day, they release Willard and let him freely explore Kurtz’s compound, and he listened to Kurtz’s philosophies over the next couple days. After that, Kurtz’s natives undergo a ritual sacrifice of a caribou, Willard comes inside Kurtz’s quarters and kills Kurtz with a machete. Kurtz’s last words were “the horror, the horror.” After he killed Kurtz, the natives declare him their new leader. Willard finds Lance between all the Montagnard, (the indegenous Vietnamese) and Willard and Lance leave the island in a boat.