Solider Play

Marquis Wilson
E.J. Jones
Afro-American Literature
May 9, 2011
A Soldier’s Play
A Soldier’s Play written by Charles Fuller tells the story of an African American Military officer named Capt. Richard Davenport that investigates the possibly racially motivated killing of another African American solider named Sgt. Vernon Waters. While investigating the murder of Sgt. Waters, Davenport uncovers the true nature of the victim and his turbulent relationship with his fellow soldiers, does Davenport realize this case may not be as cut and dry as a racially motivated homicide.
The Setting of A Soldier’s Play is in 1944, on a racially segregated military base named Fort Neal in Louisiana. The mood is tense throughout the African American soldiers ranks because of the possible involvement of the Ku Klux Klan in the murder of an African American soldier. In fear of retaliation from the black soldiers, Army officials place the town of Tryin off limits to all military personnel.
The main theme that A Soldier’s Play explores is the complicated division that exists within the African American race. An example of this is the views that Sgt. Waters had toward southern Blacks. He believed that in order for the African American race to progress they have to turn away from behaviors that he perceived to be stereotypical and embace behaviors that emulated whit society. In contrast to Sgt. Waters beliefs is Pvt. Peterson who felt that African Americans like Waters that tried to emulate the behaviors of whites and win their respect was the true conflict within the African American community.