Pre-Flight: Something to Think About Before You Read
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Hello War Heroes and Heroines,
Keep in mind as you are reading The Red Badge of Courage that it is not only a novel about the Civil War. More importantly it is about war in general and in particular about the psychological aspects of being a soldier. What is Crane saying about war? What is he saying about being a soldier during a war? What kinds of things does Henry Fleming think about before, during and after a battle? Try to put yourself in his position. Try to imagine what it would be like to be a soldier, to know that at any moment, regardless of how many precautions you might take, how fast you are, how strong you are, you could die.
Also, notice how Crane creates emotional atmosphere in the novel by his use of language. His phrases are often somber and foreboding giving one a sense of dread or fear. The first sentence of the novel begins:
Later in the same paragraph we read of a "sorrowful blackness." Here are some more phrases that he uses:
That's just in the first 20 pages. Try to feel the emotion of the language. It's an important part of the novel.
Be careful out there.
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