The Red Badge of Courage

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Passage From The Red Badge of Courage

In this short passage from the Red Badge of Courage, Samuel Crane uses many literary devices to make the text seem to jump out at the readers. He uses much auditory and visual imagery in order to make his words seem more life-like. "The splitting crashes swept along the lines until an interminable roar was developed. To those in the midst of it, it became a din fitted to the universe. It was the whirring and thumping of gigantic machinery, complications among the smaller stars. The youth's ears were filled up. They were incapable of hearing more." In this quote, Crane utilizes hyperbole to tell exactly how loud the sounds were. He also uses onomatopoeia when he said "It was the whirring and thumping of gigantic machinery…" This lets readers know how it must have sounded to be in the midst of all the confusion and noise.

Figurative language also has a part in this passage. "These parts of the opposing armies were two long waves that pitched upon each other madly at dictated points. To and fro they swelled." Crane is comparing the masses of soldiers to ocean waves, wild and uncontrolled. This evokes powerful mental images, and helps the reader to understand just how unstructured that the situation was. At the end of the passage, the pace picks up to show the confusion of the situation. This helps to convey the tone, which is rough and forceful.

The overall impression of the passage is that of unbearable noise and violence. The literary devices used in the passage show strong imagery, as well as appealing to the senses, by using many sensory details. Crane uses diction to convey to readers just how loud and unstructured war really is.
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