I see why high school teachers like this book. Crane jams as much imagery in a sentence as possible. Sometimes more. I thought it was strange and I didn't like that the metaphors were repeated over and over. It was like having to listen to someone tell you the same clever anecdote over and over. The first time it catches you, but after several times it just becomes cumbersome. I thought a couple of the analogies were strange too; reading about a civil war soldier bowing his head and running like a football player was just odd.
I thought it was strange that the narration referred to the characters as "the youth" and "the friend"-who for the first half was the "loud soldier" even know we as readers knew their names.
Like I say, taken in pieces this book was great, taken as a whole it was just way to drawn out.