Book Review – The Red Badge of Courage

Hello everyone! Happy Saturday! I hope that you’re having a great start to your weekend. Over here in my little corner of the world, we’ve been having a heatwave. So we have been soaking in the sunshine, and sweltering in temperatures up to 26 degrees celsius! To some that may not be very hot, but for England it certainly is!

Anyways, this week’s post is going to be a book review. I read ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ back in February for school, and was very pleasantly surprised by it.

the red badge of courage

First of all, some stats:

Author: Stephen Crane

Published in: 1895

Genre: Historical Fiction

PoV: Third Person – Limited Omniscient (if you have to google that, don’t feel bad because I did too. :D)

Number of Pages: 216 (according to my Puffin Classics version)

Now onto the review!

Have you ever wondered ‘am I brave’? Have you ever wondered what you would do if you were stared by death straight in the face? Would you run? Or would you face it straight on? The struggle between bravery and fear, between standing strong or running like a coward is one that beats in all our hearts. It is one of the questions of our very existence. And it is this inner struggle that permeates the pages of ‘The Red Badge of Courage’

This is a beautifully written book about a young soldier in the Union Army during the Civil War. Delusioned into joining the army by a promise of glory and excitement, all he does now is endlessly march, following the seemingly-pointless directions from the generals that no one sees. The private longs for home and the tussle between bravery and cowardice is strong in his heart. He fearfully wonders what will happen when he finally sees battle. As the book progresses, we follow him into his first battle, and get to witness first-hand the struggle that rages in his heart and around him in the fray. The struggle is dominant, both in the battle and in his heart, and it is one that must be answered. At the end, the fight between bravery and fear will have a winner. But who?

When I stepped into ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ I wasn’t particularly sure what to expect, so I just kept an open mind and read. And I’m actually really glad I read it. It wasn’t the easiest book to read, both because of the subject content (it’s mostly about battle, and battle isn’t exactly nice and pretty) and the writing itself (the poetic quality of it sometimes made it hard to follow, as well as the fact that its written in kind of old language.). But the gorgeous beauty of both the writing and the story made it so I was willing to overlook the times it was hard to read and digest. Really, the writing is superb. It is rich, poetic, and evocative, clearly portraying both the battle scenes, and the soldier’s inner thoughts. It was so beautiful that it, in one sense, made the battles seem less real, but in another sense made it so starkly terrible. I think the juxtaposition of the beautiful writing vs. the gory content made this book very powerful. I certainly came away from it feeling very rich because of the stunning writing I was privileged to read. However I also felt quite emotional because of this picture of the terribleness of war. That saying, it is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

After much thought and consideration, I’ve decided that it’s definitely an 8* book, and probably just about squeaks into a 9* book. So there you have it, I’m going to give it 9* stars out of the generosity of my heart, and recommending it for ages 13+.

*Note for parents: depending on the maturity of your child, you may want to go under or over that age. I’ve said 13+ because of the sometimes-complex/dense writing and the sobering battle content, but I would recommend at least looking at it yourself before you give it to your child so you can judge accurately based on your own personal circumstances.

Advertisements

Poem – Masks

*Note: I don’t think I said this on my last post, but I’m planning to post once weekly, on a Saturday. 

Today’s piece of featured writing is a poem. I don’t have much to say about it, except is freestyle, and I wrote it after being struck by how often people put on masks to hide their true feelings. I aptly call it…. Masks.

 

Broken hearts behind indifferent masks

We cannot see real people

Behind the walls they put up

To keep us out

 

Weeping hearts behind laughing eyes

We should not judge people

Based on their outer appearance

For painted facades can hide dark interiors

 

Hurting hearts behind angry words

We should not base our opinion of people

Off of one encounter with them

For often it is an unjust opinion

Based off of an unjust encounter

 

We cannot see people’s hearts

We cannot know what goes on behind people’s walls

So please remember

That outer appearences

Hide inner realities

 

And give grace

 

In Which I Begin a Blog

Well hello there! Welcome to my blog!

Let’s just cut straight to the chase. First posts are… kinda awkward. You’ve walked into the sphere of  blogging, and now you need to give an amazing intro to your blog to make sure that people know exactly who you are, what your blog is going to be about, and why you’re blogging. And it needs to be well-written, concise, friendly and convincing. That’s quite an order to fill!

So, just be aware that as this is my first ever blog post on here, I’m a newbie to all this, and so just give me a little wiggle room. And hopefully this will turn out ok!

So first of all, who exactly am I? Well, my name is Hannah, and I am 16yrs old (at the time of writing this). I live in the lovely country of England, and have been homeschooled all my life. Hard-core homeschooler right here, y’all. My loves in life include: First and foremost – Jesus Christ, as well as children, sunshine, L.M. Montgomery, the beach, and primarily – reading and writing. Which leads nicely into what this blog is about…

I’ve created this blog with the intention to post my writing as I wend my way through the wild and wacky ride that is trying to become a good writer. I write primarily fiction, with a side helping of poetry and a small dab of Christian non-fiction. Those are my ‘for-fun’ writings. My other writings are ‘for-school’ and they include essays and book reviews. Now I’m not planning to dump all my essays on you (though I can’t promise I will never post an essay, as I just might at some point. You never know!), but book reviews I most certainly will be posting! As I said a minute ago, I love reading. Like LOVE LOVE LOVE reading. I am a prolific reader. (mostly of historical fiction, if you were wondering. Though I am trying to broaden my tastes and read more widely.) So it kinda makes sense that I love writing. I find they go together quite delightfully. They’re both to do with words, one with writing words, and one with reading words that others have written. Both of which I highly enjoy. You could call me a logophile – a lover of words, as well as a bibliophile – a lover of books, and have quite a accurate portrait of myself. Anyways, where was I… Oh yes, reading and writing. So yup, this is going to be a place where I shall post all manner of writing – stories, poetry, book reviews – and I hope that you may find something on here that will strike your fancy, and you can return for more!

Which again leads nicely into my third point (goodness, I sound like a professor or a preacher using points! xD) – why I have started this blog. I think there are two main reasons why. First of all, I really want to grow in maturity as a writer, and I think that having a blog will force me to write consistently and more, and that will help me get better. But even more importantly than that, I really hope and pray that what I post on here may be of encouragement to someone. I hope that the different genres I write will be able to reach a wider audience, and thus encourage more people. And I pray that God may use my humble attempts at writing for his glory.

For that is ultimately why I write. To point others to the goodness and beauty of our loving Father. Soli Deo Gloria.