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In Stephen Crane's naturalistic work, The Red Badge of Courage, the main character, Henry Fleming, worries about forthcoming battle, apprehensive about how he will handle himself in battle. One night, Henry watches his fellow soldiers "with nothing but eagerness and curiosity in their faces" and suspects them of falseness. On a morning, Henry sees
From across the river the red eyes were still peering. In the eastern sky there was a yellow patch like a rug laid for the feet of the coming sun....
Here in Chapter II are two examples of personification, or the attribution of human traits to inanimate objects, abstract qualities, or animals. In these examples, "the red eyes" pertain to the fires of the other army of the Confedercy, and the "feet" are attributed to the rising sun.
Then, in Chapter III the men must run as they are chased by booming artillery. The regiment slides down a bank and "wallowed across a stream."
The mournful current moved slowly on, and from the water, shaded black, some white bubble eyes looked at the men.
Here again Nature is personified; and, this magnifying of nature's attributes is somewhat ironic since Crane later demonstrates how indifferent it is to the conditions of the soldiers and Henry.
In Chapter V, after the chaos of battle, Henry recalls a circus parade that came to his town in the spring:
He saw the yellow road, the lines of expectant people, and the sober houses.
In this example, the houses are given human emotion. Further in his reactions to battle, Henry's anger is directed against the
swirling battle phantoms which were choking him, stuffing their smoke robes down his parched throat. He fought frantically for respite for his senses, for air, as a babe being smothered attacks the deadly blankets.
That Henry perceives inanimate objects as against him, along with his perception of nature as involved in his experience indicates the naivete of the youth in his search for reality amid the nightmare of war.
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