Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Kevin Powers's The Yellow Birds. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Yellow Birds: Introduction
The Yellow Birds: Plot Summary
The Yellow Birds: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Yellow Birds: Themes
The Yellow Birds: Quotes
The Yellow Birds: Characters
The Yellow Birds: Symbols
The Yellow Birds: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Kevin Powers
Historical Context of The Yellow Birds
Other Books Related to The Yellow Birds
- Full Title: The Yellow Birds
- When Written: 2008-2012
- Where Written: Austin, Texas
- When Published: September 11, 2012
- Literary Period: Postmodernism
- Genre: Novel
- Setting: Iraq, Germany, and the United States
- Climax: Murph is tortured and killed after deserting the U.S. Army in Iraq
- Antagonist: Although the Iraqi enemy represents the most direct physical threat to Bartle’s life in Iraq, the true antagonist in the story proves to be the war itself, as it deeply affects Bartle during and after combat.
- Point of View: First person
Extra Credit for The Yellow Birds
Al Tafar. Kevin Powers share many similar traits with his protagonist, John Bartle. The name Powers chooses for the fictional Iraqi town where John Bartle fights, “Al Tafar,” highlights the similarity between Powers and Bartle’s experiences, since the author’s own experience of combat took place in the real city of Tal Afar, Iraq.
The War in Iraq Today. Although the United States withdrew from Iraq in 2011, after eight years of occupation, the rise of the terrorist organization ISIL (also known as ISIS) has led the U.S. to return to Iraq in 2014—this time working hand-in-hand with the Iraqi army to defeat ISIL.