What does one of the following thoughts of the youthful private suggest about his view in the war? What it the connotation in "field of battle." What about "He had imagined peoples...

What does one of the following thoughts of the youthful private suggest about his view in the war?

What it the connotation in "field of battle." What about "He had imagined peoples secure in the shadow of his eagle-eyed prowness."

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The connotation is the feeling assigned to a word or group of words as we read them.  For instance, "mob" and "group" are essentially the same--large numbers of people--but "mob" has a negative connotation and "group" seems somewhat more peaceable.

So, in "field of battle" the connotation is much more positive than a war-time setting.  The field implies an athletic arena where the victors are glorified and honored for their talents.  Rarely does someone die when competing in a sporting event.  The youth has a romanticized and glorified opinion of the war--he is looking at it through rose-colored glasses.

You can see this as well through the next clause you point out--"He imaginged people secure in the shadow of his eagle-eyed prowess" is Henry's way of considering himself the guardian of all the helpless civilians out there.  He is the predator with eagle eyes--always watching, always looking for the invaders and the wrong-doers.  He is their protector.

Obviously Henry's view changes as he becomes engaged in actual combat, but it is important to realize that at the time of the publication of this book, the public was used to an idealized view of war.  There was none of the realism of TV and movies that we see today in that time--had they seen the first 30 seconds of Saving Private Ryan, I doubt many boys Henry's age would have been allowed to go or even wanted to go off to war.

Read the study guide:
The Red Badge of Courage

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question