Solider’s Heart” is a young adult historical war novel written by Gary Paulsen and published in 1998. It’s a fictionalization of a true story about a 15 year old, Charley Goddard who lies about his age and enlists in the Union Army during the Civil War. Charley is seriously wounded but survives. He is traumatized by what he sees in the war and is haunted by the horrible memories. When he returns from war, he suffers from “soldier’s heart,” an illness that resembles heart disease but with no real heart abnormalities. Soldier’s Heart, is inner struggle. A soldier heart always struggles by the war happenings, his duties, struggle to overcome the anxiety of unknown in war zone. A soldier goes through emotional phases every day. His job is to defend, to sacrifice personal life comforts . He misses his family but can not visit them.
The climax occurs after Charley’s first military battle, The Battle of Bull Run. Until then, Charley sees war through rose-colored glasses. He loves the firing and immerses himself in the training, military uniform fittings and excitement. To Charley, war seems glamorous. However, his views change completely after he watches real war, seeing his fellow soldiers and friends laying their lives. After that, Charley fears his own death and approaches war with cynicism, aggressive behavior and tears. He’s haunted by the reality of war and the horrific memories and realizes how difficult it is to face death daily. He feels proud that he is so brave to face death daily for his country.
Back home, soldiers’ families go through hurdles of daily life routine. Their minds are always gripped in fear of unknown. Even a knock on door shatters their peace. This is horrible to be in a traumatic frame of mind 24/7 due to fear of unknown news.
It is not easy to be soldier But still a soldier would love to be soldier as many times he is reborn. Soldiery is the most dignified and honourable profession. Nations remain indebted to soldiers for their sacrifices. A soldier’s heart is purest of all, filled with love and compassion and sacrifice for his people and for his motherland.