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CHAMBERLAIN (Chapter 2 of Part III)
The Black Man
Chamberlain awakes to the rain after having dreamt of his wife. He considered why she had loved the South so much--its heat, chivalry, and violence. Kilrain disrupts the Colonel’s thoughts with news that a wounded black man has been discovered just outside camp.
Apparently the man had been shot when trying to get directions from the townspeople. Chamberlain sees that the wounded man gets first aid, attempts to communicate with him, and finally sends him off east with some food. He is the first black man Chamberlain has ever seen and the Union commander is slightly shocked. Chamberlain reflects on the Negro and slavery in general; he finds it odd that he is repulsed by the very race he is fighting to free.
When Chamberlain asks his opinion of Negroes, Kilrain responds that "any man who judges by the group is a peawit." Chamberlain recounts a visit from some Southerners to his house before the war and their arrogance in perceiving blacks as animals. Chamberlain and Kilrain go on to discuss the divine spark in men’s eyes, but Kilrain asserts that some men are worth no more than dogs. That, Kilrain explains, is why he’s fighting. Kilrain is incensed by the fact that the Southern aristocracy wants to judge a man based on who his father was, rather than who he is.
The two end their conversation and lay down to rest, the smell of death in the air from the battle.
"The regiment sat in an open field studded with boulders like half-sunken balls." (p.166)
"He moved silently among them...tabulating the light in men’s eyes, moving like a forester through a treasured grove, noting the condition of the trees." (p.166) This exerpt also touches on the theme of Intuition.
"All his life he had been a detached man...grown in contained silence like a lone house on a mountain." (p.166)
"The sun was a blood red ball just over the hills." (p.171)
"He remembered her letter, the misspelled words: ‘I lie here dreamily.’ Even the misspelling is lovely."
Imagery (Visual) & Simile:
"He was very big and very black. His head was shaved and round and resting on mossy granite...He wore a faded red shirt, ragged, dusty, and dark pants ragged around his legs. There were no sleeves on his shirt and his arms had muscles like black cannonballs." (p.168)
Specific Language & General Language:
"Thick-lipped, huge jaw. Look of animal strength." (p.168)
Oxymoron: "White complacent face, sense of bland enormous superiority." (p.170)
" ‘Once more into the breach.’ " (p.173) From Henry the Fifth. The English Henry delivered the line to his troops shortly before his successful against-all-odds attempt to regain France for England. Harrison used the line back on page 4.
" ‘They used to have signs on tavern doors, Dogs and Irishmen keep out.’ " (p.179)
"He saw the men moving in a long blue wave." (p.174)
Imagery & Metaphor:
"Square head, white hair, a battered face, scarred around the eyes like an old fighter. In battle he moved with a crouch, a fanged white ape, grinning." (p.176)
"The Great White Joker in the Sky dooms us all to stupidity or poverty from birth." Kilrain’s tirade against the aristocracy and idealism. (p.178)
" ‘If they win there’ll be two countries, like France and Germany in Europe, and the border will be armed. Then there’ll be a third country in the West, and that one will be the balance of power.’ " (p.179)
" ‘They burned a Catholic church up your way not long ago. With some nuns in it...There was a divine spark.’ " (p.179)