The Death Of A Soldier Essays

1036 Words Apr 11th, 2016 5 Pages
In The Death of a Soldier, Louisa May Alcott tells the poignant story of her experience as nurse for a young soldier named John, who was painfully injured in his very first battle and who is predicted to die from the wound. Alcott uses imagery and emotional language to create the scene of her experience, and gives depth to the character of John through small insights that allow the reader to see the innocence of a man who could have easily been war hardened and cynical about his fate.
John is presented curiously. When Alcott first introduces the reader to him, the doctor pronounces, “It will be a hard struggle, and a long one, for he possesses great vitality; but even his temperate life can’t save him; I wish it could.” This establishes the pretense that John will die; the reader does not have reason to care, as they do not yet know John, but Alcott quickly remedies this. Alcott goes on to describe a later encounter with John – “John looked lonely and forsaken just then, as he sat with bent head, hands folded on his knee, and no outward sign of suffering, till, looking nearer, I saw great tears toll down and drop upon the floor.” – which continues to deteriorate the tried and true image of a strapping young soldier, hardened by the war and pain. Instead, Alcott shows the reader John’s vulnerability, which softens him into a character that can be sympathized with. To further this softening, Alcott recounts John’s behavior once she has extended her companionship to him.…

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