romance has nothing to do with hugs and kisses and passion: it has to do with an idealized sense of perception
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Yes, I get romanticism has nothing to do with hugs and kisses unless Henry and Jim Conklin got really lonely. This story is similar to most stories about boyhood indoctrination into the horrors of war. In chapter 1 Henry flashbacks to how he got into the army in the first place. Henry thought war would be dramatic; he had romantic visions (not hugs and kisses!) of "masculine" things, violent altercations where he would of course emerge heroic. Henry's mother doesn't want him to go but Henry's friends are going and he thinks the chicks will dig his uniform. Back to the actual Civil War. Henry realizes it is brutal, lonely, terrifying and often monotonous. During Henry's first real skirmish, Henry finds himself running away like a chicken in a fox den. Henry goes on to experience the usual horrors of life at the front. He sees decapitated men, honourless generals and virgins with rifles dying by the thousands. Henry does step up in the end. The illusions of grandeur, however, never quite returns. Henry gets his red badge of honour (lots of blood) but, like all war, pays a great price.