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Quotes

Quote #4

A house standing placidly in distant fields had to him an ominous look. The shadows of the woods were formidable. He was certain that in this vista there lurked fierce-eyed hosts. The swift thought came to him that the generals did not know what they were about. It was all a trap. Suddenly those close forests would bristle with rifle barrels. Ironlike brigades would appear in the rear. They were all going to be sacrificed. The generals were stupids. The enemy would presently swallow the whole command. He glared about him, expecting to see the stealthy approach of his death (3.28).

The wide variety of Henry’s emotional responses to war now expands to include what we see here: paranoia. Henry loses whatever logic dominated his earlier attempts at rationalization and avoidance as he gives into these crazed emotions.

Quote #5

Once he thought he had concluded that it would be better to get killed directly and end his troubles. Regarding death thus out of the corner of his eye, he conceived it to be nothing but rest, and he was filled with a momentary astonishment that he should have made an extraordinary commotion over the mere matter of getting killed. He would die; he would go to some place where he would be understood. It was useless to expect appreciation of his profound and fine sense from such men as the lieutenant. He must look to the grave for comprehension (3.50).

This is, of course, Henry’s absurd notion of the comforting aspects of death. Crane expects us to recognize the irony here.

Quote #6

He felt the subtle battle brotherhood more potent even than the cause for which they were fighting (5.15).

This quote raises a good point. We never hear about "the cause for which they [are] fighting"… at all. There is no mention of slavery or secession or even the names of the two armies. This text is about war, not politics. In this novel, war exists outside of its causes.

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