Scientific Squirrels and the Acorn of Death (Red Badge of Courage, Ch. 6 and 7)

Okay, here’s the quote, and even though EVERYONE will probably choose it, here it is.

This landscape gave him assurance… It was a region of peace… He threw a pine cone at a jovial squirrel, and he ran with chattering fear. High in a treetop he stopped, and, poking his head cautiously from behind a branch, looked down with an air of trepidation. The youth felt triumphant at this exhibition. There was the law, he said. Nature had given him a sign. The squirrel, immediately upon recognizing danger, had taken to his legs without further ado. He did not stand stolidly baring his furry belly to the missile, and die with an upward glance at the sympathetic heavens… And he was but an ordinary squirrel too… The youth wended feeling that nature was of his mind.

Here we see this youth who was feeling guilty about escaping the war. He decides to see what would happen if he launched a missile at a squirrel, and when it ran assumed it only natural for someone to escape danger. What he didn’t take into account in his experiment though, is that that was a squirrel, if he did that to a dog or wolf, he wouldn’t be around to tell the tale, or attack squirrels with the acorn of death.
Now, the italics words were ones I didn’t know. Trepidation means fearful or uncertain. Wended means travelled, or could mean traveled along.

Feel free to comment! I wanna hear your opinions! Was the youth crazy? Was the squirrel a coward?


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