Thursday, March 3, 2011

Entry Two: Characters & Conflicts

          The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara introduces several characters in this first reading section. The main characters (with chapters following them), are The Spy, Colonel Chamberlain, General Buford, General James Longstreet, and General Robert E. Lee. These are very significant characters to the story but some may have just been used to shed light on sequences of events and on other characters that could come about later in the novel.
         The Spy, Gen. Longstreet, and Gen. Lee are all fighting for the Confederate Army, while Col. Chamberlain, Gen. Buford and the Union Army try to keep the Confederates out of the North. There are several conflicts so far both internal and external. First and foremost, the armies are fighting for their "states"(C.S.A./U.S.A.). In Chapter 2 when Colonel Chamberlain is presented with 120 disbanded soldiers and given the orders to execute them if they do not cooperate, he cannot pull himself to shooting them and understands that they do not want to fight anymore. He is struggling with himself and is trying to search deep inside of himself to find the answer to his predicament. Eventually all but 6 of those men join the Twentieth Maine Regiment. In Chapter 3, General Buford decides to take the high ground and protect it until Chamberlain comes with back-up, but he then is hesitant, questioning if Chamberlain will come in time. While back at the Confederate camp some poker players get upset with Luitenant Fremantle (British Army Observer) for saying that the war was over slaves. This is a common misconception and the fact that the soldiers were so offended surprised me. Lastly, one conflict that will last throughout the novel is between Gen. Robert E Lee and Gen. Longstreet. Longstreet keeps suggesting defensive tactics, and doesn't cease to try to sway the General even when his annoyance is very clear.
            One thing I am especially delighted about is how captivating the story is. Shaara takes the Civil War and then takes it one step further by following the main characters. Like I said earlier, the way the Confederate soldiers and general reacted to the assumption that the war was over slavery took me aback. I knew that the war was caused by several other things but the way the Confederates took it so personal really surprised me.
        I predict that Lee will keep denying the defensive tactics suggested by Longstreet and the Buford will struggle with holding off the Confederate Army. There will be many internal conflicts cause by trying to decide on to attack, retreat, and many other strategic maneuvers. Shaara will use the Third-Person Narrative to shed light on on thoughts, and feelings of characters throughout the novel.

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