The Red Badge of Courage
Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Following this came a red rage. He developed the acute exasperation of a pestered animal, a well-meaning cow worried by dogs. He had a mad feeling against his rifle, which could only be used against one life at a time. He wished to rush forward and strangle with his fingers. He craved a power that would enable him to make a world-sweeping gesture and brush all back. His impotency appeared to him, and made his rage into that of a driven beast (5.19).
Look at the language Crane uses to describe Henry – "pestered animal," "well meaning-cow," "driven beast." Henry has tapped into something instinctive and animalistic by becoming part of the war machine.
The shells, which had ceased to trouble the regiment for a time, came swirling again, and exploded in the grass or among the leaves of the trees. They looked to be strange war flowers bursting into fierce bloom (6.10).
Look at the way Crane pairs the violence of warfare (exploding shells) with the beauty of nature (flowers bursting into bloom).
A man near him who up to this time had been working feverishly at his rifle suddenly stopped and ran with howls. A lad whose face had borne an expression of exalted courage, the majesty of he who dares give his life, was, at an instant, smitten abject. He blanched like one who has come to the edge of a cliff at midnight and is suddenly made aware. There was a revelation. He, too, threw down his gun and fled. There was no shame in his face. He ran like a rabbit (6.22).
Again we see the same sort of figurative language making Henry out to be an animal. Does this mean he’s lost his humanity, or does it argue that little separates man and beast to begin with?