Phil Klay is a former Marine and Iraq veteran.
The story: A Marine chaplain, confronted by a tormented infantryman in his unit, grapples with his complicity in war violence and ability to aid the fighting men most touched by it.
Characters: A Marine Chaplain named “Jeffrey” (first-person narrator), a Marine infantryman named Rodriguez
Themes: Soldier motivation, war’s violence, war guilt
- Why does Rodriguez seek out the Chaplain?
- Does the Chaplain think he has helped Rodriguez in any way? What has he learned from his relationship with him?
- Does the story suggest that religious faith helps us better understand the violence of war?
For further exploration, watch this video of Phil Klay discussing his Catholic faith:
Read “Prayer in the Furnace” here: