According to Crane (28), despite the honor and heroism that comes with being sent to war, the army life was filled with horrors and rigors. This paper argues that it is more difficult to be sent to war than to be left at home.
During wartimes such as the American civil war when many young Americans were faced with the dilemma of either being left at home or sent to war (Heiser 87). Many Americans particularly came to this realization that being sent to war is not romantic as they had previously thought after the American Civil War. Billings (56) suggests that one of the greatest difficulties faced by people who were left at home during war times was the fear of being seen as a coward.
For example, throughout the civil war, the motivation of joining the army rather than being left at home is rather than being left at home is primarily driven by the instinct of self preservation and the desire to be seen as courageous like a classical Greek hero (Wiley 102). On the other hand, according to Crane (5), many parents and communities actually wanted their children to be sent to war and fight due to the heroism and honor attached to being in the battlefield even though being sent to war so often meant death. “I do not know what else to tell yeh, Henry, except that yeh must never do any shirking, child, on my account” (Crane 6). Although Henry’s mother was at first reluctant to allow his son enlist in the army, she advices him to meet his responsibilities and never to bring her shame even if it costs his life.
“The line soon encountered a body of a dead soldier laying upon his back and staring at the sky. The corpse was dressed in an awkward brown suit and the youth could see that the soles of his shoes had been worn to the thinness of writing paper. Death exposed to his enemies the poverty which in life he may had concealed from his friends” (Crane 23).