Evan S. Connell has a unique writing style. While most stories are told from beginning to end, Son of the Morning Star: Custer and The Little Bighorn (North Point Press, 1984) begins with the aftermath of The Battle of the Little Bighorn. It is then followed by numerous events which led up to this battle. Connell chose this non-linear writing style in order to distribute the details he finds most fascinating and interesting to share with his audience. Using the conclusion of the battle as the introduction of the narrative creates a suspenseful tone.
In the beginning of the story, the setting is the battle field which The Battle of the Little Bighorn had taken place a few days earlier. Lieutenant James Bradley has led his troops to the land where they discover the corpses of which they believe are General George Armstrong Custer’s troops. Custer himself was nowhere in sight. Even after a reward was offered upon his retrieval he could not be found. The deserted battle field raised questions and the men began to imagine what had happened days prior to their arrival. The author writes, “While discussing the day’s events around a campfire most infantrymen predicted more unpleasant news…” (pg. 3)
The troops discovered a woman who was present during the battle and described to them what she had witnessed. The woman’s recollection of her experience opens up the story to a chronicle of the events which happened during the battle. The reader is given details regarding to Custer’s entrance and also each opponent’s fighting style:
“Instead, Reno’s men dismounted and formed a skirmish line. Then they began to retreat. They ran very fast, she said, dropping guns and cartridges. She was disgusted by the conduct of these whites, saying they must have been seized with panic worse than that which seized her own people.” (pg. 7)
As the plot approaches its conclusion, the reader is taken back to the aftermath of the battle and receives a... [continues]
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