The Red Badge of Courage

what is described?

 "from across the river the red eyes were still peering.  in the eastern sky there was a yellow patch like a rug laid  for the feet of the coming sun; and against it,  black in pattern like, loomed the gigantic figure of the colonel on a gigantic horse."

chapter 2 

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Crane uses figurative language to describe the looming violence and and threat of war.