The red badge of courage

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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In today's society, many people are faced with internal conflicts that cause them to wonder who they really are. These struggles sometimes allow people to realize their true self identity. During these mental battles the person can recognize what they can and cannot do. After undergoing this process, the person's views about a given situation may completely change. Their previous views may be based on how they think others will perceive them. In the novel Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, Henry Fleming underwent a psychological struggle until he finally found out who he really was. He cared about how others' viewed him, and used rationalization to explain his cowardly actions. During his psychological struggle, his character dramatically changed, and he became confident and fearless.

Henry was greatly concerned with how he was perceived by others. He wanted his fellow soldiers to think highly of him, as someone who was brave and would fight until death.

After Henry enlisted, he went to tell his friends, thinking that they would consider him a hero. When Henry first arrived at training, he felt that he was invincible. However, when Henry heard that his regiment was going to battle he started to wonder if he would run. He was afraid to tell anyone of this because he thought they would think he was a coward. When he was returning to the regiment, shortly after he ran, he wondered and cared about what they would say to him. "He wondered what they would remark when later he appeared in camp. His mind heard howls of derision... Where's Henry Fleming? He run, didn't 'e?" (97) After no one brutally questioned him, he thought, "He had performed all of his mistakes in the dark, so he was still a man." (111) Since no...