With the Old Breed

by

E.B. Sledge

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A machine-gunner who joins Company K as a replacement after Peleliu, this Marine is nicknamed “Kathy” because, despite apparently being in love with his wife, he had an affair with a girl called Kathy before the war and has since become obsessed with her. Sledge shares a peaceful, amusing conversation with “Kathy” in the midst of utter destruction and death in Okinawa. This scene becomes an episode Sledge recalls for its surreal nature. It also allows Sledge to realize that he does not fully believe in a world beyond war anymore—and must therefore work hard to retain his own sanity.

“Kathy” Quotes in With the Old Breed

The With the Old Breed quotes below are all either spoken by “Kathy” or refer to “Kathy”. 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:
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of With the Old Breed published in 1981.
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

Viewing that picture made me realize with a shock that I had gradually come to doubt that there really was a place in the world where there were no explosions and people weren’t bleeding, suffering, dying, or rotting in the mud. I felt a sense of desperation that my mind was being affected by what we were experiencing. Men cracked up frequently in such places as that. I had seen it happen many times by then. In World War I they had called it shell shock or, more technically, neuresthenia. In World War II the term used was combat fatigue.

Related Characters: Eugene “Sledgehammer” Sledge (speaker), “Kathy”
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:
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With the Old Breed PDF

“Kathy” Character Timeline in With the Old Breed

The timeline below shows where the character “Kathy” appears in With the Old Breed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 12: Of Mud and Maggots
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
During a lull in an intense battle, Sledge chats with a Marine everyone calls “Kathy” because of the name of his lover. “Kathy” shows Sledge a picture of the girl,... (full context)
Death, Horror, and Trauma Theme Icon
Patriotism and Morality Theme Icon
Friendship and Camaraderie Theme Icon
During the following attack, after Sledge’s conversation with Kathy, Marines shoot an already-wounded enemy soldier who is crawling in the mud. Uncharacteristically, a Marine... (full context)