The Red Badge of Courage

comment on the dialogue and vocabulary in the story.what does it tell you about the place and time? why is it important that it never be altered

chapter 1

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I remember thinking the story was hard to read back when I read it in high school. Now I understand that it had to be that way. The dialogue is really an early 1800's dialect spoken by the common or poor people of the American South. Check out Henry's mother from chapter 1,

"An' allus be careful an' choose yer comp'ny. There's lots of bad men in the army, Henry. The army makes 'em wild, and they like nothing better than the job of leading off a young feller like you, as ain't never been away from home much and has allus had a mother,..."

Yes, she is warning Henry to stay away from bad people but it is in an uneducated Southern drawl that gives it a sense of authenticity. The officers speak with more proper grammar because they most probably came from more affluent backgrounds.