Give two reasons that the lieutenant's comrades "look at him with large eyes thoughtfully" but will not touch him in "An Episode of War".This question is from the short story "An Episode of War,"...

Give two reasons that the lieutenant's comrades "look at him with large eyes thoughtfully" but will not touch him in "An Episode of War".

This question is from the short story "An Episode of War," by Stephen Crane.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    The lieutenant's wound is a badge of honor that his comrades do not want to share in the Stephen Crane short story, "An Episode of War." While dividing coffee rations for his men, the lieutenant is shot while in plain sight of most of the unit. The wounding is an act that clearly defines the reality of war from the mere prospect of injury.

... A wound gives strange dignity to him who bears it. Well men shy from this new and terrible majesty. It is as if the wounded man's hand is upon the curtain which hangs before the revelations of all existence... and the power of it sheds radiance upon a bloody form, and makes the other men understand sometimes that they are little.

    The men cannot avoid looking at the wound, a horror of war that could happen to any of them at any time, but they keep the lieutenant at arm's length because it is as if he is now contagious, with "a terrible disease" that they, too, might catch.
    The men also realize that this "red badge of courage" separates them from the lieutenant in a newly distinct manner, and they feel discomfiture that they are now not worthy of his touch.

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An Episode of War

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