Soldier's Heart

by Gary Paulsen

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Why is chapter 10 so important in Gary Paulsen's novel Soldier's Heart?

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In Gary Paulsen's novel Soldier's Heart, the main character's name is Charley.  This novel is about the Civil War and its effects on the soldiers, focusing on 15-year-old Charley, who thought joining the war would be fun and make him a man.  Charley soon finds out that war truly is hell. In the first battle of the war, the Battle of Bull Run, Charley is terrified as he watches friends die, other soldiers get shot, and listens to the screaming of the wounded.  As Charley goes into battle after battle, ending with Gettysburg and the charge of the Minnesota unit against overwhelming odds, Charley is finally wounded.  Chapter 10 is so important because it shows Charley at home, wounded both physically and mentally.  He can barely walk but goes on a picnic by himself.  He has a soldier's gun with him, contemplates suicide, but spends his time thinking of the beautiful things in his life.  Paulsen uses Chapter 10 to show the wounds war scores on a soldier's heart, the awfulness of war, and the destructive aftermath of war on the soldiers who fought in it.  Charley dies young, which also shows you Paulsen's opinion of war.

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