Ambrose Bierce's Story 'Chickamauga'

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Historical writing is dependent on the author’s perspective and the point of view they employ. Ambrose Bierce’s story “Chickamauga” depicts the journey of a boy as he travels through the woods and joins a troop of wounded soldiers. The story is read through the point of view of the deaf and mute child in addition to a factual, emotionally detached narrator. Although the narrator tells the story, he relies on the boy’s perception to shape the story. Bierce defamiliarizes the world in which the boy roams, however, the bizarre reality of the world seems all too intrinsic to the nature of the war. The child’s innocent perspective delineates the gory reality of the war as an epic fantasy. Although the boy’s innocence shields him from truly understanding the gore and…show more content…
Up to this point the child did not understand the brutality of the “game” which he was taking part of, nor did he comprehend the consequences of war’s actions. After the boy finds his mother’s body within the ruins the narrator states, “…he stood motionless, with quivering lips, looking down upon the wreck” (26). The damage is so deep and painful that the boy does not know how to react. His inability to take action demonstrates how shocked he is by the aftermath of his game and ultimately how astonished he is by the inhumane actions of the men whom he once believed to be heroes. The child is so sheltered by his intrinsic principles of humanity that he did not expect his game of war to escalate to the killing of his mother. The boy’s silence is not as much of a disability as it is a result of his incomprehension. The boy is also realizing the permanence of his actions; death is an ultimatum and his mother is dead. In addition to showcasing the child’s purity, Bierce may be utilizing the child to imitate the concurrent feelings of the nation following the

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