Rifleman Dodd is a fascinating book by C.S. ForesterÂ published in 1932, which portrays a story of theÂ 18thÂ century war about a warrior called Matthew Dodd. This story begins with riflemanÂ Dodd and someÂ FrenchÂ Soldiers led by SergeantÂ Godinot. DoddÂ was a British rifleman who was left behind enemy lines. There are a lot of lessons learnedÂ from this book.
This warrior was left by Lord Wellington of the British Army in the heat of battle. Matthew realized his circumstances and carried on with his mission, day and night to kill the FrenchÂ peopleÂ and prevent them from building a bridge across the Tagus river. Matthew was forced to survive behind enemy lines for some month with help fromÂ some local Portuguese. Summary of this book describes everything MatthewÂ went throughÂ day and nightÂ as he fights to get back to his men.
A little history about Matthew DoddOrder now
Dodd is a British foot soldier in the Napoleonic Wars, also known as Peninsular War. Matthew served in the 95th rifle for the British. The warrior was known as a green-shirted man while other wore red clothes. He was separated from his regiment when they retreated and left him behind enemy lines in Portugal. Rifleman Dodd killed Frenchmen he came across, one by one in order for him to get back to his men and during that process, he showed great leadership skills, tenacity and commitment to his mission. Matthew made a friend called idiot who he left by the hillside because of cold, starvation and fever.
It was a tough decision for him. Matthew experienced the death of a lot of his friends which he made in Portugal, his two friends from Portugal were hanged before his eyes. Local Portuguese villagers who helped him were slaughtered by the Frenchmen. But he was able in the midst of great despair to kill a handful of Sergeant Godinotâs men allowing British men to win. He hides in bushes to carry out his “hit and run” war tactics on the enemy camp. Matthew also ambushed Frenchmen wherever they went and killed them one by one. The French people became scared of him and started calling him “devil”. He was skillful with his rifle which gave him superiority over the French people who were using muskets. He was able to join his fellow brothers and sisters after a few months of fighting day and night.
Challenges faced By RiflemanÂ Dodd
RiflemanÂ Dodd faced three major challenges when he was left behind enemy lines inÂ the heat ofÂ battle.
- The Portuguese boy he met.
- Starvation – This was a major challenge for him which could have had a negative effect on his response to danger. He only ate what was enough to give him energy, giving him the privilege to save food and conserve energy he needs in battle.
- Fatigue – This is a state of weariness which was a major challenge for him as it is for every soldier in wars. Dodd overcameÂ fatigue and continued with his mission. He was able to sleep at night with his rifle in his hand while carrying his pack, in case he has to defend himself or others. He then wakes up in the morning to continue killing them. Lack of dwelling place contributed to his fatigue.
- The Portuguese boy he met – This was the greatest challenge for him because he didn’t know if he could trust him. Matthew would need to share someÂ food which was not enough with him. The boy called Idiot was able to convince him becauseÂ idiotÂ understood their language and knew the villages better. MatthewÂ was able to overcome thisÂ challenge out of the kindness of his heart and later, trusted him. IdiotÂ became his personal navigatorÂ and translator.
Major characters of Rifleman Dodd that made him overcome the challenges
There are some lessons learned from this book based on his characters. These attributes include:
- Skill and talent
- High devotion for his duty.
One other lessonÂ learnedÂ from this book is how a single manÂ can makeÂ a great contribution to any nationÂ in cases of despairÂ just by his courage and determination.Â Dodd has the ideology that if a plan refusesÂ to work out, there is a need to make another one and there is no room for hopelessness.Â He was taught that he must carry out his duty or die trying.