Throughout the story many settings appear, the most important one is the battlefield. The year was 1862, which is the period of the Civil War. The story starts at night on a cold morning when the army rests in there tents, bunks and around campfires. As Jim Conklin, who later becomes known as The tall soldier, washes his shirt at the river, he hears a rumor. He rushes to tell his comrades that the regiment will move the next day. After the loud soldier, Wilson, hears this rumor, he argues with Jim that it is a lie. At the same the new and main character Henry is just standing on the side listening.
Henry then begins to think about how his reaction to fighting in battle will be. A ...view middle of the document...
He struggles with the idea of not knowing how he will react once he is in battle. The feeling that he might run once he sees a few of his men get shot or blown up right in front of him. Running would prove that he is not courageous or heroic and that his fantasies of triumph in war are just fantasies. The more times he pictured himself fighting, the more he “ failed in an effort to see himself standing stoutly in the midst of them,” them being the threats of the future attacks (p.8). Henry’s response to moving within the next 24hrs is unpredictable, so he will wait to face his fears..
Arguing two soldiers enter the tent where Henry is pondering about his reactions and emotions. The two discuss the being of the rumor. Henry asks Jim whether if he believes any of the soldiers will run from the battle. Jim then begins to talk to Henry more into detail when he says that some will run but others will stay. Since they are inexperienced, their reactions are unpredictable.
Finally, Henry has a resolution to the rumor. Still, he is concerned about whether he will be courageous in battle. “Now, with the newborn question in his mind, he was compelled to sink back into his old place as part of a blue demonstration” (p.11). This means he loses sense of his who he is among the other soldiers. A want to fight inspires him because it is the only way to prove his bravery. He is comfortable with all his comrades, especially the “tall soldier,” his childhood friend.
The tall soldier, Jim is a very obeying private. Henry respects and supports him and follows orders without questions. He is also very confident and honest. When Henry asked him whether he believed he would run off, Jim responds that he doesn’t know but that he believes that he will stay and fight. Jim is showing self-confidence here. Henry envy’s jims character wishing that he could be like Jim.
When the order to move was given, all the soldiers wondered where they were going. However, Henry is thinking about the future and becomes depressed while his visions “tramped to the tune of laughter” (p.15). The regiment is pumped and the talk about victory. Henry, however, feels zoned out from the others because of his depression. He keeps a distance from the convoy. A lot of things go through Henry’s mind, and he then begins to think that he may not be soldier material.
Wilson, the loud soldier tries to talk to Henry and asks about his worries. “The thrill of his enthusiasm made him walk with an elastic step” (pg.7) Wilson talks confidentaly about how they will defeat the opponent. He is sure that he will not run from the attack. Henry questions Wilson’s confidence, Wilson then becomes insulted by the discussion and leaves Henry. Wilson leaves Henry alone in melancholy. The comparison in their views and Henry’s lack of self-confidence just makes him feel more scared of what he may do. He feels that he is the only one struggling with this situation.
The scenery changes after that...