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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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Major THEME

Lee’s decision to attack

Lee’s decision to attack is influenced by: Stuart, Soldiers’ Past Experiences (Previous Battles), Intuition, God, Strategy (Changing), Passion vs. Numbers

Stuart

"Lee said abruptly, impulsively, ‘I cannot imagine what’s become of Stuart. I’ve heard nothing. You understand, I know nothing of what’s in front of me. It may be the entire Federal army.’ " (p.100) Even Lee--the embodiment of patience--is growing frustrated of his cavalryman’s irresponsibility.

"No time for blame. But there must be information...Lee felt an acute spasm of real anger...I know nothing." (p.103) Lee’s getting increasingly frustrated with Stuart.

Soldiers’ Past Experiences (Previous Battles)


"But he [Lee] did not know how many Federals were ahead. Rodes might be attacking half the Union army. Another Sharpsburg." Lee is cautious because at Sharpsburg--despite faring very well against larger Union forces--he lost about 1/3 of his forces and had to call off his invasion of the North. Lee must take risks because he is the underdog, but he is cautious of losing too many men before he can really get this second invasion of the North off the ground. Note: the bloodbath at Sharpsburg (the worst in the U.S. military history) is today known as The Battle of Antietam.

Intuition

"Lee waited. It [attacking the Union line before all Reb troops were ready] did not feel right. There was something heavy and dark and tight about the day, riding stiffly in broad barren field, in harsh sunlight." (p.103)

"Lee could begin to feel the weight of the Union army, the massive blue force pouring his way." (p.109) Metaphoric water imagery comes up once again.

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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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