Chapter 9 Notes from The Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 9

The youth fell back until he could not see the Tattered Soldier, but he was still amid wounded men who reminded him of his perceived cowardice. He looked around to see if the men were judging him.

"At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be peculiarly happy. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage." Chapter 9, pg. 55

Back in the line he saw the spectral, dead-looking soldier at his side. He looked so much like death that a crowd had gathered and walked with him. He futilely tried to get the crowd to leave him alone. He seemed to be looking around for a place to die. Suddenly the youth started - he realized that this spectral man was Jim Conklin, the Tall Soldier from his company. They greeted each other and the youth muttered desperate condolences. The Tall Soldier said he thought the youth had been killed, then muttered repeatedly that he had been shot. The Tall Soldier grew paler and told the youth that what he was afraid of was not death, but that he would fall down and be run over by an artillery wagon. The youth swore he would take care of his friend, but the Tall Soldier continued to plead with him unhearing. The youth could not speak for his uncontrollable sobbing.

The Tattered soldier was at the youth's side again. He suggested they take the Tall Soldier out of the road, for a battery of artillery was coming down the road. The youth guided the barely conscious but still walking Tall Soldier into the adjacent fields. Suddenly the Tall Soldier took off running toward a group of bushes. The youth and the Tattered Soldier followed, but the Tall Soldier yelled that he wished to be left alone above the protests of the other two.

"The tall soldier turned and, lurching dangerously, went on. The youth and the tattered soldier followed, sneaking as if whipped, feeling unable to face the stricken man if he should again confront them. They began to have thoughts of a solemn ceremony. There was something rite-like in the movements of the doomed soldier. And there was a resemblance in him to a devotee of a mad religion, blood-sucking, muscle-wrenching, bone-crushing. They were awed and afraid. They hung back lest he have at command a dreadful weapon." Chapter 9, pg. 58

Then the man stood motionless; he had found the spot he sought. There was silence, then the man's chest began to heave violently. The youth fell to his knees and sobbed. The Tall Soldier repeated his mantra of his wish not to be touched. After a silence, the Tall Soldier died in a writhing epileptic fit that sent him to the ground. The man's jacket fell away; his torso looked to have been ravaged by wolves. The youth was livid with rage at the battle.

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