Images of Reintegration: Alternative Visual Rhetorics of the Returning World War II Soldier

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Virginia Tech


During World War II, comic books and movies buoyed the public's spirits and offered hope to combat the uncertainty of a world at war. However, these visual media often did so at the expense of portraying authentic military veterans and the struggles they faced repatriating after WWII. This presentation examines two cases, the comics of Bill Mauldin and John Huston's Let There Be Light, that slipped the boundaries of their genres to portray the unglamorous lives soldiers returned home to. By defying viewers' expectations, these images created powerful visual arguments for greater social opportunities for returning warriors. This presentation offers a rhetorical analysis of the visuals these artists created and reviews how their legacy is being continued today with comics and movies that are designed to help warriors repatriate and the public to understand their needs.



World War II, Rhetoric, Repatriation, Comics, Film, ViS, Veterans in Society, Race and/or Reconciliation, the Third Conference on Veterans in Society