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The Red Badge Of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage

by Janice Schuster # JM0409484

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. Wilson 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. Wilson and Henry don't turn out to be as brave as they think that they could be. While hiding, Wilson finds Henry, and gives him an envelope of letters for his family. Wilson believes that this will be his first and his last battle. Henry ends up fulfilling his worst nightmare.

Instead of sticking out the battle with the rest of his regiment, he hides behind some brush in order to spare himself from getting shot. He listens in on the battle, and to much of his surprise, he hears cheering from what's left of his regiment. He then takes off into the woods in anger. While running through the woods his conscience begins to speak to him. He keeps telling himself that he is a coward and a deserter. Out of guilt, Henry runs back to the battle site, and meets again with his regiment. These actions showed Henry's maturity and desire to be a war hero.

When Henry meets back up with his regiment an older man begins to have a discussion with him. The old man asks Henry "where yuh hit, ol' boy?". With massive feelings of guilt, Henry shrugs away from the man and runs back into the woods. From behind a tree, he can see all the wounded soldiers on the battle field. "At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be happy. He wished that he had a wound, a red badge of courage." This shows Henrys desire to be a wounded war hero. He does not want to be set apart from the other boys as a coward. As soon as the old soldier passed him, he went back to the lines and continued on with the soldiers.

He starts walking next to Jim Conklin, a soldier that he knew pretty well. They are talking, when all of a sudden, Jim runs away. He falls onto the ground and dies. This death has a very big affect on Henry. Jim was his first friend to be



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