"The Red Badge of Courage," Vocabulary from Ch's 1-5

The main character in Stephen Crane's "Red Badge of Courage"seeks battlefield redemption for an earlier act of cowardice. Set during The Civil War, the protagonist must confront issues of manliness and fear as he returns to the battle from which he once ran.

Learn these word lists for the classic: Ch's 1-5, Ch's 6-11, Ch's 12-18, and Ch's 19-24.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. squat
    be close to the earth, or be disproportionately wide
    When he had finished, the blue clothed men scattered into small arguing groups between the rows of squat brown huts.
  2. lucid
    transparently clear; easily understandable
    One outlined in a peculiarly lucid manner all the plans of the commanding general.
  3. siege
    an action of an armed force that surrounds a fortified place
    He had read of marches, sieges, conflicts, and he had longed to see it all.
  4. extravagant
    recklessly wasteful
    His busy mind had drawn for him large pictures extravagant in color, lurid with breathless deeds.
  5. contempt
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    She had affected to look with some contempt upon the quality of his war ardor and patriotism.
  6. decisive
    Almost every day the newspapers printed accounts of a decisive victory.
  7. monotonous
    tediously repetitious or lacking in variety
    After complicated journeyings with many pauses, there had come months of monotonous life in a camp.
  8. formidable
    extremely impressive in strength or excellence
    For a moment he seemed to be searching for a formidable reply.
  9. exasperated
    greatly annoyed; out of patience
    "Not much it won't," replied the tall soldier, exasperated.
  10. gratitude
    a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
    The youth of this tale felt gratitude for these words of his comrade.
  11. prospective
    of or concerned with or related to the future
    His emotions made him feel strange in the presence of men who talked excitedly of a prospective battle as of a drama they were about to witness, with nothing but eagerness and curiosity apparent in their faces.
  12. intolerable
    incapable of being put up with
    In his great anxiety his heart was continually clamoring at what he considered the intolerable slowness of the generals.
  13. recount
    narrate or give a detailed account of
    The men were whispering speculations and recounting the old rumors.
  14. ominous
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    As he looked all about him and pondered upon the mystic gloom, he began to believe that at any moment the ominous distance might be aflare, and the rolling crashes of an engagement come to his ears.
  15. blithe
    carefree and happy and lighthearted
    The youth, considering himself as separated from the others, was saddened by the blithe and merry speeches that went from rank to rank.
  16. exultant
    joyful and proud especially because of triumph or success
    As he spoke his boyish face was wreathed in a gleeful smile, and his voice had an exultant ring.
  17. extricate
    release from entanglement or difficulty
    Men extricated themselves from thick shirts.
  18. aggregation
    several things grouped together or considered as a whole
    Veteran regiments in the army were likely to be very small aggregations of men.
  19. obstruction
    any structure that makes progress difficult
    All his faculties seemed to be needed to guide him over and past obstructions.
  20. prominent
    conspicuous in position or importance
    Their shots into thickets and at distant and prominent trees spoke to him of tragedies -- hidden, mysterious, solemn.
  21. harangue
    a loud bombastic declamation expressed with strong emotion
    He thought that he must break from the ranks and harangue his comrades.
  22. nonchalant
    marked by blithe unconcern
    The philosophical tall soldier measured a sandwich of cracker and pork and swallowed it in a nonchalant manner.
  23. reconnoiter
    explore, often with the goal of finding something
    "Oh, I suppose we must go reconnoitering around the country jest to keep 'em from getting too close, or to develop 'em, or something."
  24. turbulent
    agitated vigorously
    There came a turbulent stream of men across the fields.
  25. billowing
    characterized by great swelling waves or surges
    The billowing smoke was filled with horizontal flashes.
  26. awry
    turned or twisted to one side
    His hat was gone and his clothes were awry.
  27. exert
    make a great effort at a mental or physical task
    The sight of this stampede exerted a floodlike force that seemed able to drag sticks and stones and men from the ground.
  28. infest
    occupy in large numbers or live on a host
    Across the smoke infested fields came a brown swarm of running men who were giving shrill yells.
  29. subtle
    difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze
    He felt the subtle battle brotherhood more potent even than the cause for which they were fighting.
  30. querulous
    habitually complaining
    Of a sudden another broke out in a querulous way like a man who has mislaid his hat.
  31. incessant
    uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
    The steel ramrods clanked and clanged with incessant din as the men pounded them furiously into the hot rifle barrels.
  32. vindictive
    disposed to seek revenge or intended for revenge
    The firing dwindled from an uproar to a last vindictive popping.
  33. repulse
    force or drive back
    As the smoke slowly eddied away, the youth saw that the charge had been repulsed.
  34. contortion
    a tortuous and twisted shape or position
    They lay twisted in fantastic contortions.
  35. undaunted
    unshaken in purpose
    They were like beautiful birds strangely undaunted in a storm.

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