Hawkeye Pierce

Hawkeye Pierce

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… in Maine. Crabapple Cove, Maine, is the place that Hawkeye calls his hometown, where his family has a summer cottage. Benjamin Franklin Pierce (though nobody uses his full name) got his nickname from his physician father Daniel Pierce after a character in his dad’s favorite book, The Last of the Mohicans.

Living... at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H unit) in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War. More specifically, Hawkeye lives in tented quarters for senior surgical staff labeled the “Swamp.” The Swamp consists of cots, footlockers containing personal effects, a dartboard on the door, a desk, an airplane seat, a stove for heat, and a still for making gin. Mostly due to the still, The Swamp is the hub of most of the social activity at the 4077th. Besides being the place to kick off your shoes after a grueling day with a fresh martini in hand, it is where one meets for the weekly poker game. Hawkeye is most comfortable in his red bathrobe, army green regulation skivvies, and dog tags.

Profession... surgeon, Army Captain, and Chief Medical Officer in the United States Army Medical Corps. He attended medical school in Boston, Massachusetts. As a surgeon in a M*A*S*H unit, he strives to be the very best he can be, despite having to do work that is fast, not dainty. As Hawkeye puts it using a golf metaphor, “We try to play ‘par’ surgery on this course. Par is a live patient.”

Interests... practicing medicine; having friends; making others laugh through his dry wit, using sarcasm, making wisecracks, and playing practical jokes; drinking heavily, carousing, and making out with nurses.

Relationship Status... bachelor-at-large, going after every pretty nurse in camp. He has no wife or children back home.

Challenge... getting through each day and on to the next. Hawkeye hates that there’s a war on. He hates that he didn’t choose to be there, but was drafted. He hates that the causalities never stop coming. He hates that he can’t save every wounded soul he finds. He hates the micromanaging and checks and balances of the army, its red tape and its disregard for human life. So, in his off time, he drinks, carouses, plays pranks on those he can’t stand (like Frank Burns and, later, Charles Winchester), and chases nurses like one of the Marx Brothers. He wears his red bathrobe to create a feeling of normalcy in that crazy war zone.

Personality... charismatic, energetic, enthusiastic, bright, and passionate. He is outgoing, friendly, and very popular. Very few people don’t like Hawkeye. He is an excellent communicator. He can charm his way in or out of anything. He is a leader that friends want to aid even when he’s breaking rules. Because of Hawkeye’s strong sense of values, walking in step to what he believes is right, he can get easily stressed by injustices that aren’t in his power to right. He cares very deeply about people, puts a lot of energy into helping others, and takes being a doctor very seriously. He comes up with intelligent and creative ways to keep himself and others happy in an unhappy environment. He worries a lot about losing who he is to the war. Because of this, he can be independent to a fault, breaking all kinds of rules and army regulations wherever and whenever possible. However, we must agree that most of the time, the end appears to justify his means.


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