The Moon is Down

Lieutenant Prackle Character Analysis

Like Lieutenant Tonder, Prackle is an inexperienced young man who assumes his involvement in the military is worthwhile no matter what the cause. He is idealistic and “sensitive,” a man who prides himself in condemning art he believes goes against the regime he serves. In this way, Steinbeck portrays Prackle as person who will blindly and vigorously follow his nation regardless of its creed. It is this disposition that drives him to oppose Lieutenant Tonder when the latter openly complains about the war. Nonetheless, after Tonder’s death, Prackle himself begins to lose faith, admitting to Colonel Lanser that he wants to go home. Unfortunately for him, Lanser reminds him that he has a duty as a soldier to serve his country, telling him, “We can’t take care of your soul.” Disheartened but obedient, Prackle calmly stands and thanks the colonel for his advice, demonstrating how hopelessly bereft he is of any ability to think critically about his own actions or role in the war.

Lieutenant Prackle Quotes in The Moon is Down

The The Moon is Down quotes below are all either spoken by Lieutenant Prackle or refer to Lieutenant Prackle. 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:
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Moon is Down published in 1995.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Lieutenants Prackle and Tonder were snot-noses, undergraduates, lieutenants, trained in the politics of the day, believing the great new system invented by a genius so great that they never bothered to verify its results. They were sentimental young men, given to tears and furies.

Related Characters: Lieutenant Tonder, Lieutenant Prackle
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 5 Quotes

Tonder got out his handkerchief and blew his nose, and he spoke a little like a man out of his head. He laughed embarrassedly. He said, “I had a funny dream. I guess it was a dream. Maybe it was a thought. Maybe a thought or a dream.”
Prackle said, “Make him stop, Captain!”
Tonder said, “Captain, is this place conquered?”
“Of course,” said Loft.
A little note of hysteria crept into Tonder’s laughter. He said, “Conquered and we’re afraid; conquered and we’re surrounded.” His laughter grew shrill. “I had a dream—or a thought—out in the snow with the black shadows and the faces in the doorways, the cold faces behind curtains. I had a thought or a dream.”
Prackle said, “Make him stop!”
Tonder said, “I dreamed the Leader was crazy.” […]
And Tonder went on laughing. “Conquest after conquest, deeper and deeper into molasses.” His laughter choked him and he coughed into his handkerchief. “Maybe the Leader is crazy. Flies conquer the flypaper. Flies capture two hundred miles of new flypaper!” His laughter was growing more hysterical now.

Related Characters: Captain Loft (speaker), Lieutenant Tonder (speaker), Lieutenant Prackle (speaker)
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 7 Quotes

“Good. Now I’ll tell you, and I hope you’ll understand it. You’re not a man any more. You are a soldier. Your comfort is of no importance and, Lieutenant, your life isn’t of much importance. If you live, you will have memories. That’s about all you will have. Meanwhile you must take orders and carry them out. Most of the orders will be unpleasant, but that’s not your business. I will not lie to you, Lieutenant. They should have trained you for this, and not for flower-strewn streets. They should have built your soul with truth, not led along with lies.”

Related Characters: Colonel Lanser (speaker), Lieutenant Prackle
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Lieutenant Prackle Character Timeline in The Moon is Down

The timeline below shows where the character Lieutenant Prackle appears in The Moon is Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...stern, young, and vigorously committed to following military protocol, especially in terms of appearances. Lieutenant Prackle is naïve and idealistic, a man who hates “degenerate art” and prides himself in his... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...patrol shift. While taking off many pieces of equipment, he tells Major Hunter and Lieutenant Prackle that he has just seen Bentick, who is overseeing the townspeople as they labor in... (full context)
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
After Loft leaves, Lieutenant Prackle asks Lanser when he thinks they will win the war, admitting that he’s eager to... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
...avoided. Corell then asks to speak with the colonel alone, and Lanser dismisses Tonder and Prackle, leaving Major Hunter in peace because the man hears nothing while working on his engineering... (full context)
Chapter 4
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
...shots are fired, a shout sounds outside and something crashes through the drawing-room window. Lieutenant Prackle, who was standing in front of the window, grabs his shoulder, injured. Colonel Lanser jumps... (full context)
Chapter 5
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
In these tense conditions, the officers seek refuge in the mayoral palace. One night, Prackle, Tonder, and Hunter sit in the darkness, the room lit only by lanterns because the... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...course,” Tonder replies in a wild voice, “Conquered and we’re afraid; conquered and we’re surrounded.” Prackle interjects, pleading with Loft to silence Tonder, but the crazed lieutenant Tonder goes on, laughing,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
...relents and allows him to investigate the situation further, telling him to bring along Lieutenant Prackle, too. In turn, Loft expresses that he’s uncomfortable with the way Prackle has been behaving... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
After Loft leaves, Lieutenant Prackle comes in hoping to speak to Lanser, who anticipates the young man’s complaints: “You didn’t... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Upon dismissing Prackle, Colonel Lanser finally welcomes Mr. Corell into the drawing-room. Corell informs Lanser that he has... (full context)
Chapter 8
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
...or “departure,” Lanser interjects, saying, “‘Departure.’ It is ‘immediately after my departure.’” Later, when Lieutenant Prackle rushes in and tries to get the colonel’s attention, Lanser holds out his hand and... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Finally, Mayor Orden can remember no more of the monologue, and Lanser tells Prackle to have Captain Loft guard the men who were found with dynamite. He then turns... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...stay with Madame, whom he kisses on the forehead before going to the door, where Prackle stands waiting. He turns to Winter and quotes Socrates once more, saying, “Crito, I owe... (full context)