The Juxtaposition and Dualism of Lee and Longstreet in the Killer Angels, a Novel by Michael Shaara

December 10, 2020 by Essay Writer

Lee and Longstreet contrasted each other in three major ways in the chapter. First we see that Longstreet is a realist and Lee an idealist. Second, we see that Lee’s health is failing and Longstreet’s is not, and third, that Lee trusts in God’s will whereas Longstreet does not. First of all, Longstreet believes that attacking now cannot produce a victory. For example, he tells Lee, “Do you expect me to attack again that same high ground which they could not take yesterday at full strength…it is my considered opinion that a frontal assault here would be a disaster” (pgs. 302,4). Lee, on the other hand, is confident and says, “ I want you to move your corps forward and take those heights, in the center, and split the Union line” (p 302). Second, Longstreet is healthy while Lee’s health and well being is failing him. For example, Lee tells Longstreet, “I’m an old man…” (p 307) and the author also says that Longstreet, “spoke looking at the weary face, the ancient eyes” (p 309). Third, Lee and Longstreet have different opinions about God’s role in this battle. Lee tells Longstreet, “Well, we have left nothing undone. It is all in the hands of God” (p 317). Lee realizes that he and his commanders have done their best to control the situation but it is, like everything in life, up to God and his ultimate will. Longstreet, however, is confused by Lee’s statement and disagrees in his mind. He thinks, “It isn’t God that is sending those men up that hill” (p 317). Longstreet does not trust in God’s sovereignty and doesn’t believe that God could possibly send so many men up that hill to their deaths. This chapter in The Killer Angels really draws out and portrays the differences between Lee and Longstreet.

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