Rifleman Dodd Book Report
Rifleman Dodd is a novel written by the author C.S. Forester. This novel portrays the heroics of a British soldier named Mathew Dodd who is cut off behind enemy lines and must fight to stay alive, and continue his mission. This all takes place during the French invasion of Portugal in the 1800’s. The author does a great job of painting pictures for the reader, this keeps the reader encapsulated in the novel.
The author’s purpose in writing this book is to inspire the reader by telling tales of courage and heroics. The reader can find inspiration in the endless examples that Dodd shows, of courage, self discipline, as well as his selfless dedication to his unit. These are things that we can all strive to be better at.
The novel starts off in Portugal during the early years of the Peninsular war. The French are advancing on the British as they make a retreat back to the Lines of Torres Vedras. When they get back to the lines, one of the Sergeants comes back with news that a rifleman named Dodd was missing. Dodd became cut off during the retreat and is left alone to try and get back to his unit. Dodd is a very experienced rifleman, and he knows that even though he is cut off, that he must continue his mission. This mission is ultimately to kill Frenchmen. Dodd knows that he stands no chance against the French in a conventional style fight, so he sticks to guerilla style warfare. He first encounters a group of Frenchmen who see him and immediately begin chasing him, to no success. Dodd outruns them and gets out of range of their muskets. Then he uses his superior English rifle to pick the French off when they have stopped chasing him. He then runs off back through the mountains to continue back to his unit. He continually uses theses tactics throughout the whole book, in an extremely efficient manner. Through all of this he is also faced with starvation, other than favorable weather conditions, and constant worry of capture or death. Even so, he continues on with a fierce determination to return to his unit. At one point in the novel he meets up with a group of Portuguese who are also fighting against the French. He joins them and they work together to continually harass and tear down the French. The work to starve the French, as well as set up ambushes and raids on the enemy. He is nearly killed multiple times by enemy fire, and one Frenchmen even tries to set an ambush for Dodd but he misses and is then killed by Dodd while trying to reload his rifle. Towards the end Dodd plans an attack on the French, but when they are engaged two of his friends are captured. Dodd manages to return to safety behind a large rock, but as he looks back he watches as his two friends are hung by the French. After seeing this he continues in alone and ends up setting the camp on fire. While this is happening the French are retreating because that they cannot break through the Lines of Torres Vedras. As the French retreat, Dodd is able to return to his regiment, receiving no praise for what he has done but still happy to be back with his unit and his friends.
This book is quite relevant to what we do. The book is about Dodds courage and his commitment to his unit. This is much like our core values of honour, courage, and commitment. Not only this but his ability to use tactics, as well as cover and concealment to defeat his enemy is much like what we do. He uses his surroundings to make himself undetectable by the enemy, and when engaged he uses the terrain to his advantage to evade his enemy. Dodd is by all accounts an excellent rifleman. This is much like what we do, in the sense that we use all of the same concepts to defeat our enemies. When it comes down to it we must use any means necessary to win. He uses extreme patience and self discipline to avoid detection and move around his enemies so that he can attack them without them knowing where he is. He moves like a sniper through the land, even though he isn’t trained as one. He uses his knowledge of the land and his knowledge as a rifleman to remain as undetected and lethal as possible.
The heroics that Dodd displayed are much like the heroics still seen today. It is of men doing extraordinary things in order to save their brothers in arms or to carry out the mission. These things are done without a thought of one’s self, or thought of reward or glory. It is this selfless devotion to our country and corps that makes us the great fighting force that we are today. In the book Dodd carried out his mission without a thought for himself or for the praise he might get if he were to return, “The only reward for the doing of his duty would be the knowledge that his duty was being done” ( Forester, Chapter VII, Page 38, Paragraph 3). This mindset is not often seen in today’s world, although it be a good mindset. People should do things, not for reward or praise, but simply because they are the right thing to do. This is very applicable to the Marine Corps. We live our lives by our core values of Honour, Courage, and Commitment.
This book has made a favorable impression on me. The stories told in this novel motivate me to become the best that I can. The discipline, courage, and flawless tactics used are great lessons for me to learn from. I can take away from this book, many things i can use to better myself.
In conclusion, Rifleman Dodd is a great book to read especially for young men and women joining the military. It outlines the importance of never giving up on yourself no matter what happens. It also shows the reader the importance and the effectiveness of good tactics, as well as self discipline and dedication to one’s country and corps.
Rifleman Dodd Book Report