The Red Badge of Courage – Review

Here’s the brutal truth: I hated this book. I could not get into it at all. I feel really sorry for my American Literature students next semester, because we’re going to be reading it anyway. It’s one of those books that’s good to read once in your life, but once is good enough!

The writing style was very vague to me; many times I had no idea what was going on. As far as plot, I felt like I was swirling and backing up and going all over the place. There wasn’t a sense of resolution on the final page. I didn’t know what I was supposed to take away from it all, and I mostly ended up glazing over each chapter.

There really isn’t too much to say about this one, because I honestly had to force myself to keep reading! I give it a 3/10. A lackluster review for a lackluster book, yeah?

As a post script, check out this amazing notebook I picked up at Barnes and Noble yesterday!

photo(4)The leather is really soft, and the pages are college ruled, which fits my tiny writing much better than wide rule. I bought a trio of Pilot G-2, blue inked gel pens to go with it, and they flow so beautifully on the paper. Even better – the notebook fits in my purse! Now, if a scene pops into my head or if a character starts talking to me, I’m not caught unable to take notes. Hooray!

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17 thoughts on “The Red Badge of Courage – Review

  1. Sorry to hear this. The book is very plain, but you need to have read Homer first, both The Iliad and The Odyssey. The ambiguity at the end is a common feature of sophisticated novels, so ultimately if you can’t appreciate this one for that reason, then you also can’t appreciate any Hemingway novel. In any event he gives you more to process in “The Veteran”. I must be honest though and say there is no way in hell they should allow you to teach if you can’t figure out this book, and you should not have gotten a Bachelor’s in English in that case, either.

    • I must be honest and say that there is no way in hell they should allow you online if you’re going to be such an ass. Just because I didn’t understand it the first go-round doesn’t mean I can’t read it again, and study, and learn. Lacking enjoyment or immediate understanding hardly disqualifies me from having my degree either: it simply means that I’m a human being with personal tastes and an ability to learn something more. If I never had to study, or work at something, then how boring would life be?
      The fact that you use the word “sophisticated” in describing your mentioned novels indicates to me that you believe me to be unsophisticated in my tastes. In addition, if you investigate my blog a bit more, you’ll find that I recently read “The Old Man and the Sea,” by Hemingway, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
      Before commenting next time, I would appreciate it if you refrain from insulting my education and career. If you can’t find it in yourself to hold your tongue, then you can escort yourself to the “unfollow” button, and if you aren’t a follower than you can remain that way. Thank you.

      • No, you put this out there to show the world what kind of idiot you are. I don’t need to see that. Lacking understanding of something this simple very clearly shows an inferior intellectual ability. You should not be teaching. It does damage to our society when we employ people like you to teach our kids. The fact that our school system would employ someone like you–is disgraceful. Keep in mind that I tutor students, possibly yours, and that I thus am forced to correct for the errors that you make.

        I’m not a follower, I went looking for a blog I could link to my own blog on the ten greatest war stories ever. Unfortunately I found this one. You don’t want to be insulted? Then don’t make a fool of yourself.

      • And I only checked back now so I could send it to others, so they can see what a fool you are. Now I have no other reason to check back. But thanks for the entertainment.

    • Appreciation for a book and enjoying a book are two different things. She was sharing her opinion of the work in regards to her taste. She never said that the book was poor in any other way. As English majors, we should be able to tell the difference. It is wonderful that you gave her more books that she could use to further her appreciation of the work, but teachers and English majors get bored of famous, and sometimes wonderful, books too. Lighten up.

      • Nah ah ah, she said she did not understand it and that she is going to teach it to her students anyways! I’m serious, if you’re stupid, that’s your business, I don’t need to see it.

        While I agree with you completely that appreciating and enjoying are often different–I appreciate Boswell’s Life of Johnson but am not enjoying reading it, and ditto for Hawthorne–this goes beyond the ordinary. How does this not make you sick to your stomach? You would trust your kid to this person as a teacher? Really? Sheesh.

        Also I must ask, if not understanding a basic and fairly short work of English prose does not disqualify you for a degree, especially but not only one in English, then what does?

    • Not understanding one book disqualifies someone for a degree? I was unaware that English majors had to understand all books. You are assuming she is not going to do any more research or reading on the book before she teaches it. You are basing your opinion of her whole teaching ability on one little blog.

      • Not understanding The Red Badge of Courage should disqualify you, yes. This is not rocket science. This isn’t Ulysses or anything like that. It’s an extraordinarily easy book. I’ve read nearly every major classic. When I say this is one of the ten easiest books I’ve read, I’m not exaggerating. Its symbolism is pretty clear (red=carnage/blood), its structure is literally stolen from The Odyssey, the war it describes is familiar as a part of history to every 8th Grade student.

        And I’m basing it on the fact that she’s obviously put this out there for everyone to see. That’s extremely poor judgment.

        But you also might want to consider how you look when making excuses for someone like this. It doesn’t reflect well on you, either. In any event, I’m taking my leave, I have better things to do with my time, and it’s pretty clear you just don’t get it.

      • Ok, that’s fine. I am not concerned with how this makes me look, but thank you for being so concerned about my image. They are not excuses, they are my opinions. You are making too much of a simple blog.

  2. No, I am most definitely not. You might think about being INFORMED before forming an OPINION. And you might think of LISTENING before SPEAKING. You are not LISTENING to what I am telling you about the state of education, certainly in Southern California if not elsewhere, and let me assure you, I know much more about it than you do.

    Do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.

    • You haven’t said anything specifically about the state of education in Southern California, thus we cannot possibly be expected to know what you’re attempting to tell us.

      By the way, I’m not as dense as you make me out to be. I perfectly understood that red symbolized war and carnage, and I did attend 8th grade, despite your insistence that my education is lacking.

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