Keith's Reviews > The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
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Aug 21, 12

Read on August 21, 2012

It's depressing how much I dislike this book. The way it is written made me feel like I don't know these characters, and more than half the time, I am all of a sudden teleported to a battlefield. Maybe because of my lack of attention, or something.

A reader should feel attached to the main character, such as the book, Into the Wild and other books like it by Erin Hunter, or an even better example, Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble.

This book is written so, at least to me, that I was very separated by the main character, who I think the book just calls him, the "young one" or something like that.

The whole book is just plain boring, a great battle, but the book didn't have nearly as much battle action as I'd hoped, especially in the beginning, which annoyingly constantly switched places all the time without warning you first. If I just wasn't paying attention that much, then I'm sorry, but I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone.

Also let's talk about how the characters talk. Quite often, it seems as if the author just over exaggerated how they talk or something, because can someone explain to me how to pronounce, "th' darn" please? It's just "the darn", with the "e" cut off so it "blends in" with the second word, "darn". That part really made me hate how this book is written.
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Maribelle Crane calls him 'the youth', and it was a stylistic quality of literature at the time Crane was writing the book - it's called realism, where the author attempts to write similar to a newspaper article by detaching himself and the reader completely from the main character and, instead of seeing the plot through the warped glass of emotion, removing that glass and looking into what the events really were and what the effects of those events were without the blurring effect of emotion.
I agree with you that I enjoy reading literature that seeks to emotionally attach the reader to the main character, however, that is the style that Crane and a lot of other authors in that time period used.
Also, have you ever read Tom Sawyer? Huck Finn? You probably would've barfed; I almost did. The type of dialect Crane uses in his novel is another example of realist literature - instead of making all the characters in his novel speak the Elizabethan English which was only spoken in England at the time, he gave the realistic dialect of how these characters really would've talked during in that time period of American history. Mark Twain does this to the point where you can't even read one sentence without wanting to pull your hair out.

I feel your pain with the diction and dialect Crane chose for the novel, but before you criticized it too harshly, you might have considered that this was the style of literature in the time period Crane lived. And in all honesty, reading two pages of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn might be enough to change your one star rating of The Red Badge of Courage to at least a three, if not four star. Just saying.


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