Critical Writing Activity: Comparing and Contrasting War Stories

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The Red Badge of Courage, written by Stephen Crane, is a story about a boy named Henry who enlists into the Union Army and goes through the change of becoming a man. The movie, All’s Quiet in the Western Front, shows the horrifying realities of war by telling the story of a kid named Paul who becomes a soldier fighting for the Germans in World War I. Both stories portray similar and different ideas of war and how it can completely change a person’s view on life. In The Red Badge of Courage, the enemy soldiers don’t have any other role then to stand in a line and shoot until they die. When both sides finished fighting, they ate and talked with each other during the night, as if they are not even enemies. The main objective of the book is not to talk about Henry and his opponent but to focus more on his battle with himself to become a man. In All’s Quiet in the Western Front, the enemy is basically just there to fight for their country, and do not like to associate with each other. Although once Henry comes face to face with one of the enemy soldiers, he realizes that the enemy is a human being and has a life, just like him. Another difference between the two stories is the way the soldiers lived while at war. In The Red Badge of Courage, the conditions were suitable and the men got good amounts of food. Crane says, “The regiment was fed and caressed at station after station…there was a lavish expenditure of bread and cold meats, coffee, and pickles and cheese.” They
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