Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Red Badge of Courage

This book by Stephen Crane I have owned and had on my bookshelf since I was in Middle School. I already had the intention of reading it but I always ended up reading something else instead. Finally with my determination to read all of the books I own this book was in my sight.
I picked it up and at first began to read it faithfully and excitedly.

The story seems to hail true to what I've been told of the Civil War. So many young men wanted to prove their loyalty and join the military movements. Many found it to be exciting- to fight, to shoot a gun, to travel and be involved in a war. It seems that, sadly, the mindset is still very prominent in the world. I know many people who have joined the military with the same excitement to 'go to war'.

The main character quickly finds that being in the military isn't all it's cracked up to be and neither is war. But past that realization the books got boring for me. It continued with his eternal freak outs and moments of wanting to be in the war and then sudden moments of wanting to go home just as badly. Back and forth, back and forth, I grew weary and tired right away.

I feel that Crane did write truthfully about the feelings of the young male character because he himself was young (dying at the young age of 28). He wrote fabulous dialect during the few conversations he held but I felt it was either strongly about the main characters freaked out thoughts or going overboard with conversation- all in that strong dialect which I never got used to reading.

I can see how critics might see this as a great book. It does have a wonderful edge, to write about the excitement and later on woes of going off to war, the dialect, the vivid descriptions. But for me the book was rather boring and I was quite happy when I was able to mark it off of my 'to read' list.

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