A Rumor of War

A Rumor of War

by

Philip Caputo

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First Lieutenant Walter Neville Levy Character Analysis

Mentioned in the book’s epitaph and emblematized by Caputo as someone who performs an “act of shining self-sacrifice.” He is a member of C Company, First Battalion, First Marines and is killed in action in September 1965. Levy is of an upper-class, Jewish background and attended Columbia University. In contrasting Levy with himself, Caputo mentions how Levy is even-tempered while he is hot-tempered. Caputo also contrasts his personal reasons for joining the Marines with Levy’s nobler patriotism.

First Lieutenant Walter Neville Levy Quotes in A Rumor of War

The A Rumor of War quotes below are all either spoken by First Lieutenant Walter Neville Levy or refer to First Lieutenant Walter Neville Levy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Owl Books edition of A Rumor of War published in 1977.
Chapter Thirteen Quotes

So much was lost with you, so much talent and intelligence and decency […] There were others, but you were the first and more: you embodied the best that was in us. You were a part of us, and a part of us died with you, the small part that was still young, that had not grown cynical, grown bitter and old with death. You courage was an example to us […] You died for the man you tried to save […] You were faithful. Your country is not. As I write this, eleven years after your death, the country for which you died wishes to forget the war in which you died […] But there are a few of us who do remember because of the small things that made us love you—your gestures, the words you spoke, and the way you looked. We loved you for what you were and what you stood for.

Page Number: 223-224
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Fifteen Quotes

I had ceased to fear death because I had ceased to care about it. Certainly, I had no illusions that my death, if it came, would be a sacrifice. It would merely be a death, and not a good one either […] I was a beetle. We were all beetles, scratching for survival in the wilderness. Those who had lost the struggle had not changed anything by dying. The deaths of Levy, Simpson, Sullivan, and the others had not made any difference. Thousands of people died in each week in the war, and the sum of all their deaths did not make any difference. The war went on without them, so it would go on without me. My death would not alter a thing. Walking down the trail, I could not remember having felt an emotion more sublime or liberating than that indifference toward my own death.

Page Number: 260-261
Explanation and Analysis:
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First Lieutenant Walter Neville Levy Character Timeline in A Rumor of War

The timeline below shows where the character First Lieutenant Walter Neville Levy appears in A Rumor of War. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Thirteen
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
Loyalty and Camaraderie Theme Icon
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...corpsman who suffered a GSW through the head. The second is First Lieutenant Walter Neville Levy. Lieutenant Jones says that a patrol from the 9th Marines fell into an ambush and... (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
Loyalty and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...of how he has been in Vietnam for seven months and has “not been scratched.” Levy lasted only two weeks. He remembers Levy’s qualities and recalls what they shared in common... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
Loyalty and Camaraderie Theme Icon
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...for the VC and a desire for getting revenge for the deaths of Simpson and Levy. (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
Loyalty and Camaraderie Theme Icon
...Lieutenant Colonel Hatch. He tells Caputo that he will get a platoon in C Company, Levy’s old company. Captain Neal is the skipper, and McCloy is the executive officer. Neal assigns... (full context)