The Red Badge of Courage: Written between the Lines - Essay on the Symbolism in Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage"

Essay by NaomiHopeHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2007

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

Andi Robinson


English pd. 3


The Red Badge of Courage:

Written between the Lines

Talented author and storyteller, Stephen Crane manipulates the English language by using nature, an awesome and unpredictable thing, as a medium to describe war, which can also be just as unpredictable and awesome. The devices he uses in his war "epic", as it has been called, can make the reader believe that war is an art and not just a bloody event. Crane is able to portray many life lessons through the situations that the youth, an extremely dynamic character in the story, is thrust into. Crane is able to use the art of symbolism to help readers relate to the story even though they may have never been in a war setting. Three of the many symbols he uses are quick and easy to relate to everyday life situations and thus I have chosen these.

Camp fires, the enemy colors, and the forest are some of the most controversial symbols because they can be viewed in many different ways.

Warming, comforting, and yet dangerous, Campfires are used in the story many times. One of the first times we see Crane mention one of these campfires is in Chapter 2 (page 13). The campfire is seen by the contemplating Henry Flemming, in order to completely understand the significance of the fire in this part of the story one must know the situation of the regiment. The 304th regiment had been stuck in camp for weeks and was ready to get out of there tents and pick up a rifle. When Henry Flemming looked across that river every night and saw the brilliant, flickering flames, he couldn't help but think that he would never see the smoke of gunfire. Campfires become a taunting object...