The Red Badge of Courage
Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
The youth kept from intercourse with his companions as much as circumstances would allow him. In the evening he wandered a few paces into the gloom. From this little distance the many fires, with the black forms of men passing to and fro before the crimson rays, made weird and satanic effects (2.32).
There appears something unnatural about these brave men preparing for battle. Henry will later conclude, after he watches a squirrel scampering away from him that fear and escape are natural instincts. Looking at it this way, there is indeed something "weird" about the black shapes round the campfires.
The sun spread disclosing rays, and, one by one, regiments burst into view like armed men just born of the earth. The youth perceived that the time had come. He was about to be measured. For a moment he felt in the face of his great trial like a babe, and the flesh over his heart seemed very thin. He seized time to look about him calculatingly (3.14).
The idea of birth is strongly contrasted with death; the men are rushing into battle, yet they are described as newborn infants.
Absurd ideas took hold upon him. He thought that he did not relish the landscape. It threatened him. A coldness swept over his back, and it is true that his trousers felt to him that they were no fit for his legs at all (3.27).
Henry attributes whatever emotions he’s feeling to the landscape around him. He’s trying to find some explanation for the roller coaster of emotions he experiences.