The Red Badge Of Courage Essay

1511 words - 6 pages

The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage, by Steven Crane, has been considered one of the greatest war novels of all time. It is a story that realistically depicts the American Civil War through the eyes of Henry Fleming, an ordinary farm boy who decides to become a soldier.
Henry is very determined to become a hero, and the story tells Henrys voyage from being a young coward to becoming a brave man. This voyage is the classic trip from innocence to experience.

To begin, the story starts out with a huge debate between the soldiers. One boy had heard a rumor that the regiment would be moving on to fight a battle the next day.

Some of the soldiers agree with this boy. Others think that their regiment will never go
into a real battle. While watching this argument, Henry, the protagonist, decides that he would rather go lay down and think rather then take part in the heated argument between the soldiers. Henry, a simple farm boy, is rather excited when he hears the rumor that they will be fighting soon. It had always been a dream of his to fight in a war, and become a hero. Now his dream was coming true. Henry begins to think about what life was like before he entered the army, and remembers some stories of war he has heard from old veterans. This flashback is very effective in showing how his previous experiences have affected his thoughts on war now. It is very clear that he is afraid that he will not be able to withstand the pressures of a war. He keeps telling himself that if he wants to become a hero and realizes he can not run away. He must stick out the battle with the rest of his fellow soldiers. While marching along, Henry sees the first corpse he has ever seen. He shows sorry for the man because the dead man had died in such poor conditions. The souls of his shoes were worn bare. When Henry sees the corpse, he begins to wonder if his generals actually know what they are doing. He thinks that the generals are leading him right into a trap and right into the middle of the enemy, the rebels.

Henry deals with his fear of battle by acting calm and confident. He acts as if he
has been in a thousand battles, and complains about the walking. It shows one of Henry’s defense mechanisms and how he can use his arrogance to hide his innocence.

Regiment 304 moves on to battle the next day. Henry is getting very scared, but is
too proud to talk to any of the other soldiers about his fear of war. All the soldiers are very anxious to fight in the war. Tom and Henry talk about how they are not going to
run away from war, and how they want to become big time war heroes. This is weird
because in the end of the book you will find that their wishes come true. When the battle starts, all the soldiers get very anxious and nervous. Tom and Henry don’t turn out to be as brave as they think that they could be. While hiding, Tom finds Henry, and gives him an envelope of letters for his family. Tom believes that this will be his...

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