Journal on “In the Field” essay

The main thesis of story, In the Field, is that a leader is held accountable for all the actions of his or her men. Under any circumstances, a leader is responsible for his or the triumphs, shortcomings, and errors of the people under him. In other words, the success of the men is also the success of the leader and the failure of the men is also the failure of the leader. The author emphasized this point throughout the entire story, which is about a platoon of 18 soldiers who were in the battlefield.

The soldiers, who were led by First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, were desperately searching for their companion, Kiowa, who was killed by enemy mortar fire. Basically, the author illustrated his points through his portrayal of Jimmy Cross. Although Kiowa was killed after a fellow soldier who was with him under a poncho accidentally switched on his flashlight which allowed the enemy to bombard their area with mortar fire, it was shown at the end of the story that Cross took responsibility for his fallen soldier.

This was best shown when he said in his mind it was his fault that they were suddenly attacked by the enemy in the area which he chose to set up camp. He realized that he should have set up their camp on higher ground so that his platoon would not have been easy targets for their opponents. Cross was convinced that it was his bad judgment that caused Kiowa’s death and nothing else since he was their leader. This basically showed how Cross exemplified the author’s main point on leadership.

Generally, the story was simply written so it was no difficult to understand the author’s thesis. He effectively conveyed his message in his portrayal of Cross’ leadership attitude and skills. In addition, I basically agree with the author’s point that no matter what the conditions are, the leader is accountable for all every aspect about his or her men, so long as they are acting under his or her jurisdiction.