Summary Of Seven Days Battle By Shelby Foote

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Realities of war are revealed to us by the people that fight in it, yet war itself does just the very same to those fighting. The actions people make on the battlefield, or lack thereof, can be quite telling as to who they are at the core of their individuality. Shelby Foote presents a great deal of battlefield narrative to tell us about who the characters on the stage on the Civil War are without being forthright himself. This can be observed in Foote’s telling of the Seven Days Battle. Just in these six battles over seven days in Richmond, Foote teaches us a great deal about war. Although criticized by Stuart Chapman, James Cox, and Douglass Mitchell, points of his brilliance are brought about as well. The ability to reveal the characters …show more content…

For the very last passage he gives us on the Seven Days Battle, he chooses to highlight this. Quoting a soldier on the Fourth of July it is stated that the soldiers “traded tobacco and coffee and exchanged newspapers as peacefully and kindly as if they had not been engaged for the last seven days in butchering one another”(519). This piece of narrative, which surprisingly lacks the typical arena of the battle of the Civil War, is deliberately placed with Foote smirking as he wrote it. Two sides celebrating the significance of independence and the end of battling colonialism from Great Britain are now fighting to destroy the same union that was previously achieved. Not to mention the aspect of men just one day prior instructed to kill or capture by any and all means acting entirely cordial with one another as if the pretense did not exist. Foote is not afforded the luxury of cliffhangers in telling his history of the Civil War. Instead, he includes thought provoking imagery chapters and long passages. This irony that he ends on closes out the Seven Days …show more content…

With all of this to say, there is a great deal won by Shelby Foote as an author. In sharing so much narrative of the battlefield readers learn about the Civil War in a broader sense of reality. Foote teaches that individual’s true characters are revealed to others in their worst and most desperate times; in war. When people are pushed to make certain choices it is important to notice their responses. Setting the stage for these truths to come out as smaller stories within the grand showcase of the Civil War is beautifully executed. Innately people can be selfish, so in times when not only their own livelihood is in danger, but the lives of thousands is when a spotlight illuminates from the writer’s pen of Shelby Foote. The Civil War was not fought by superheroes, but by soldiers and he makes this clear. Foote shows us that being heroic can only be in instances and gives cases where soldiers were unheroic to paint the entire picture for readers to make their own conclusions. Dramatic irony is drawn from his toolbox to further drive home this point. Shakespearean moments that Foote could not even dream of are included for both the pleasure in telling the story and telling more about the war itself, even more specifically the Seven Days Battles. Sifting through the documents and pictures and accounts of the Civil War took years for Foote and

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