Literary Analysis of Chickamauga Essay

1353 Words Jun 30th, 2012 6 Pages
Swift 1
Samuel Swift
English 2312
Dr. Chuck Jackson
02/10/2011
Ambrose Bierce’s Twisted Naturalist Short Story “Chickamauga”
The author of “Chickamauga,” Ambrose Bierce, created this short story as a naturalist visualization of the devastating effects that wars and battles had on the soldiers which fought in them. The short story “Chickamauga” is defined as naturalist literature because of the author’s employment of specific literary techniques which define naturalism, such as the way the author gradually darkens the mood of the storyline as it progresses, the amount of description and attention paid to grisly and macabre details that shed wars in a whole new light, as well as the unfolding nature of the main character as the story
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Through the eyes of a child he watches as multitudes of men make their way however able, whether by using arms and no legs, knees and no arms, or wriggling forward on the ground heading towards the creek (344). This child remembers how his father’s slaves would walk on their hands and knees and let the son ride as if they were horses, and seeing similarities the child swiftly climbs atop one of the nearby men, and is bucked off, as if by a pony. The unwilling steed reveals himself in the light to the child as a man missing his entire lower jaw with “shreds of flesh and splinters of bones” (345) where his mouth should have been and blood spilling down his shirt. After gathering himself away from the flood of bodies, the child notices a red glow tingeing the air, creating a background upon which he can see tree limbs moving and exaggerated shadows of these wounded men struggling ever forward. Figuring that he could help lead them, the boy then quickly outpaces the flowing tide of bodies, wielding his sword in his hand and adjusting his pace to match that of his ‘command’ (345). As the procession nears the creek, dropped equipment and supplies tell a story of countless men passing over the soft ground not once, but twice, as the soldiers hurry towards and then fleeing from a great battle which was held some short distance away. These men all struggling with the last of their lives are all that remain from thousands

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