Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane

Another librivox recording.

I've been doing a lot of yard work so my trusty ipod is filled with librivox books. I hate yard work. This is the only way I can get through it.

I'm not a fan of war anything: books,movies, stories. But my friend just finished listening to The Red Badge of Courage and suggested I try it. I'm still not a fan of war books. This one wasn't bad, but the descriptions of the war, of the injuries was really more than I wanted.

The person we're supposed to root for is Henry aka The Youth. I found myself despising this kid. Maybe I'm not surrounded by normal folk, maybe I'm holding people up to loftier ideals but I can't believe that someone would act the way he did. Running away from battle, I can understand. But justifying by claiming he's smarter than everyone else, trying to find ways to be superior to friends, etc. was just something I can't believe a human being would do.

Until I remember that this is a 19 year old boy. This, right here, is my problem with wars. Especially unnecessary ones (like the one we're in now...ahem). They have kids, just KIDS, fighting these battles. Kids who, like Henry, have never seen death before, let alone killed someone or something. We're sending kids off, mentally unprepared, and they face down the possibility of death and see their friends blown to bits and when they come back home, oops, we're done with you. Have a nice post-traumatic stress disorder. This boy wasn't prepared. He was still believing that corpses might get up and come after him.

The ending shooed away some of my dislike of Henry. Thankfully, he redeemed himself. But I'm still upset that that is how kids grew up. Seeing corpses, seeing friends shot to death, shooting other people to death is not how kids should become men.
Post a Comment