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The book is about the horrors experienced during the war. Stephen Crane in this book depicts the reality faced by the Union regiments during the Civil War. The book talks about Henry Fleming’s experience as a recent recruit in the Union 304th
regiment. Moreover, Stephen Crane reveals the gory details about the engagement between the gray soldiers (Confederate) against the blue (Union) regiment. However, the experience shakes Henry making him flee the battleground which later molds him to become among the best fighters in the regiment. What enticed me throughout the book are the experiences faced by Henry Fleming as he retreats from the battleground. Stephen Crane illustrates the loss of innocence by an amateur during the war and how his self-assurance made him overcome his cowardice.
The book met my expectations as the protagonist of the story turns to be a hero. Moreover, the ending of the story was consistent with the main character who later returns to several battlegrounds fighting like a lion and not like a coward as before. Also, the plot core conflict is resolved and therefore the book is enticing to read. The book shares some principal aspects of the Battle at Chancellorsville, during the period of the American Civil War. Furthermore, by reading the book one is able to historically understand how the blue regiment, under the command of General Lee, intelligently used the woods to their advantage. The part of the book that was more interesting is where Fleming wakes up from a short nap to find the enemy charging at him. However, he becomes engulfed with emotions and fear which makes him scamper across the landscape in order to flee the battlefront.
The book inspired me to do more research on some of the strategies used during the Battle of Chancellorsville that had an impact on the cause of civil rights to all Americans regardless of race and gender. I would recommend the book to a friend. This is because the historical context of the book would be educational. A marine would be able to understand how simple decisions would have a huge impact on the fellow marines just as Jim Conklin rumor, leading to the encounter at Chancellorsville. The subject of this book affects my life as the quest of honor and glory through Crane’s vivid description reveals the psychological cost of warfare. The evidence Crane uses to support the ideas of war is how Fleming and the tattered soldier underwent while wandering through the woods.
Henry is a symbol of what a typical soldier during the Virginia war encountered. Henry grew up in the farm and the glory and honor that came about with being a soldier made him sign up for war. The issues raised in the book are controversial. For one, one in ten American soldiers joined the regiments due to how the society perceived them and due to slavery being rampant at the time, African Americans fought alongside the white soldiers. The author does not offer solutions to such problems that arise at the course of the book. One of the solutions would be to state some of the strategies implemented during the war, to make it clear as to how the two race fought alongside each other. Given a chance to talk with the author, I would ask him to put the book into its historical context and inform me more about what really happened during the Civil War.
I have not read Stephen Crane’s other books and therefore cannot discern a similarity in theme, structure and writing style. After reading the book, my views on the American Civil war has changed. Crane reveals the futile quest for glory and honor of a soldier while at the same time exposing the senseless destruction, mental torment, and gory battle scenes. Lastly, Marines should read the book because the story is told from the perspective of Fleming who is initially terrified that he might not be brave enough to go through war, but later onwards emerges victorious throwing his fragile psyche into turmoil.
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