Flags of Our Fathers Study Guide

Themes
Influence of Mothers

Mother figures are important in the lives of the boys during the war. The heartbreak and anxiety that they suffered while their sons were in battle were greatly described in the book. Belle Block’s prominence as a mother was also shown, especially after he son’s misidentification in the photograph. She was one of the first people who pointed out that Harlon was the one in the picture, citing that she knows her boy.


Heroism

There is a denial in the remaining three flag raisers with their status as heroes when they return from Iwo Jima. They believed that the true heroes where those who didn’t return from the island. They have all been heroes in their own rights, but they prefer to remain humble, as those that died on the island were they friends and had personal bonds with them.

Media

The media pushed Ira Hayes to the edge, tirelessly dogging him during his troubled moments. The media also published a lot of fabricated stories about the war, lulling the public into a false sense of security when in fact; things at Iwo Jima were far from secured during those times.

Important Quotes

"I am sure that no matter what the government said, Mother would have gone to her grave insisting that was her son Harlon on that photograph."
Maurine Block, page 313.

"I know my boy."
Belle Block, p. 221

"I am sure that no matter what the government said, Mother would have gone to her grave insisting that was her son Harlon on that photograph."
Maurine Block, page 313. -- --Maurine Block told the first quote to James Bradley. This intensifies the theme of motherhood further because of Belle Block’s ability to identify Harlon despite the other men in the same uniform in the picture.

"Your teacher said something about heroes... I want you to always remember something. The heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who didn't come back."
John Bradley, p. 343 -- --John told this to his son James when he was in third grade. He refused to make a speech in front of his son’s class, as he does not see himself as a hero.

"It's funny what a picture can do."
Ira Hayes, p. 275 -- Ira writes this words to his parents during the beginning of the Seventh Bond Tour. He, along with the other two, believed that they shouldn’t be honored as heroes just because of a photograph.

"From a guy who is proud he's a Marine and in his country's service."
Ira Hayes, p. 77 -- This was how Ira Hayes signed his letters during the beginning of his service as a Marine. It doesn’t predict any of the darkness that would happen in his life after his time in Iwo Jima.

Cite this page:

Celis, Christine. "TheBestNotes on Flags of Our Fathers". TheBestNotes.com. . 09 May 2017
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