Chapter 13 Notes from The Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 13

The Youth walked toward the regimental fire indicated by the man with the cheery voice. As he approached, the fears of ridicule from his peers that plagued him all day returned. He wanted to hide, but found he was too tired. He walked up, but a guard pointed a rifle at him and told him to halt. The youth recognized him as Wilson, the Loud Soldier. Wilson greeted the youth warmly, and almost cried, telling the youth he had thought him dead. The youth suddenly felt like collapsing; he worked quickly to produce a story that seemed vaguely believable. He told Wilson he had been shot in the head. Wilson went immediately to get Corporal Simpson to help the youth.

Topic Tracking: Peer Pressure/Morale 11

The corporal approached, surprised to see the youth alive. After an exchange over the youth's whereabouts during the day, the corporal took him to the fire to take care of him. Wilson told the officer to wrap the youth in his blanket. Looking at the wound, the corporal confirmed the erroneous idea that the youth had been grazed by a bullet. He acknowledged, however, that the wound looked peculiar, as if the youth had been hit by a club, but he made no further inquiries. He said the wound would swell, but otherwise he would probably be fine.

The youth sat up and looked around, taking note of the soldiers around him - they staggered around exhausted, as if drunk, or slept profoundly. After a time, the Loud Soldier joined the youth, having been relieved from duty. He became the youth's makeshift nurse, giving him cold coffee to drink and wrapping a damp bandage around the youth's head wound. He then grabbed his two blankets, spreading a rubber one on the ground for the youth, and wrapped him in a woolen one. At the Loud Soldier's request, the youth flopped down, but then popped up, asking the Loud soldier where he was going to sleep. The Loud Soldier replied that he would sleep next to the youth; when the youth protested that his friend would have nothing to sleep on, the Loud Soldier told him to shut up and stop making a fool of himself. The youth settled down and fell asleep in the manner of the men around him.

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