Stephen Crane's 1895 novel The Red Badge of Courage offers rather a rambling plot line — perhaps like war itself — accompanied by striking language and metaphor. For example, when battle looms near the beginning of Chapter V:
There was rustling and muttering among the men. They displayed a feverish desire to have every possible cartridge ready to their hands. The boxes were pulled around into various positions, and adjusted with great care. It was as if seven hundred new bonnets were being tried on.
In tone and style Red Badge frequently resembles Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, e.g. when Crane's Chapter XIX depicts a pointless charge into the teeth of enemy fire:
It seemed to the youth that he saw everything. Each blade of the green grass was bold and clear. He thought that he was aware of every change in the thin, transparent vapor that floated idly in sheets. The brown or gray trunks of the trees showed each roughness of their surfaces. And the men of the regiment, with their staring eyes and sweating faces, running madly, or falling, as if thrown headlong, into queer, heaped-up corpses — all were comprehended. His mind took a mechanical but firm impression, so that afterwards everything was pictured and explained to him, save why he himself was there.
Shades of Prince Bolkonsky and Pierre Bezhukov!
(cf. InfiniteSky (2004-10-15), ...) - ^z - 2008-01-21