In both The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, and in Keenan's Charge by George Lathrup, similar scenes of a civil war charge are described. But these similar events are only alike on the surface, as both authors convey different views on what a soldier's courage in battle consists of. Lathrup's poem portrays courage in the classic way, as well-trained soldiers who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of their country. Crane depicts courage more like a temporary loss of reason due to the stress a soldier's mind encounters when facing his own death, instead of a conscious disregard for danger for a righteous cause.
The superficial similarities of the two situations can be seen through the time period and the circumstances that forced the charge. In both chapter 23 of Crane's The Red Badge of Courage and Lathrup's Keenan's Charge the soldiers described are union soldiers from the civil war.
Lathrup mentions, "their coats of blue and yellow" (Lathrup II), and Crane talks about the "blue men" (Crane 175). Another similarity is that both charges were made as a last resort. In both Crane's and Lathrup's stories, the union troops were in a position where their only choices were charge or die.
The differences between these two stories can be seen through each individual author's voice, and his expected purpose for writing the story. In Lathrup's poem, the soldiers are very well organized, seem to be very disciplined, and attack the enemy with a greater purpose on their mind. When Keenan's officer asks him to make the charge, "clear, and cool, and still; then, with a smile, he said: 'I will.'" (Lathrup II). This shows Keenan's awareness of the situation, he know that they will ride to their deaths, and he and his soldiers...