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Chapter 8 Notes from The Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 8

Suddenly, in the silence of twilight, the sound of battle raged, and the youth ran toward it. He thought it ironic to be heading back toward the battle, but he told himself it was a spectacle worth seeing. The sounds of the woods had stopped as if in deference to the battle. The roar made the youth think that the battle in which he had fought was nothing but preliminary skirmishing; he doubted that he had seen a real battle at all. He thought it good, though, that he and his comrades had taken the charge so seriously, for without delusions of grandeur, no one would have fought at all. The thick underbrush held the youth back as if trying to keep him from death, but he persisted to the edge of the wood, wishing to see the spectacle at as close a range as possible. He walked through a field where a skirmish had been fought earlier; the ground was strewn with debris and dead men and the youth felt he was invading on the propriety the dead held on the place. From his position behind the front lines, he could see a stream of wounded men moving in a line to the rear. He could hear their wails; one man was singing ironically and the wounded limped to the tune.

One of the wounded men walked along, but already had the gray look of a dead man on his face; he pressed bloody hands to his wound. Other men walked sullenly, angry at their wounds. A wounded officer swore at the two privates who carried him. The youth joined this procession. The line was broken up often by orderlies who rode through on horses. A Tattered Soldier was walking next to the youth and listening to the stories of another man. After a while, the man approached the youth and tried to be sociable - he had a wound both in his head and in his arm, both bandaged with blood-soaked rags. The youth was embarrassed to talk to the man because he had not felt that he had done his part in the battle. The Tattered Soldier pursued the youth and asked him where he was wounded. The youth stammered and blushed, then slid away from the Tattered Soldier through the crowd.

Topic Tracking: Peer Pressure/Morale 8
Topic Tracking: Maturation 5

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