The Red Badge of Courage

Essay by ScottieBoyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2004

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Written by Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage tells the story of how Henry Fleming, a young boy fighting in the Union Army, matures and grows up. The story tells how Henry learns to survive, bravery, and overcome his fears. Henry thinks that war is beautiful and cannot wait to partake in battle because of the stories he has read written by Homer. He must find out for himself the verisimilitude on the way war really is. Throughout the novel, Henry searches for his identity and looks to others for confidence in finding his own. The Red Badge of Courage tells how Henry Fleming searches for himself and becomes a man.

In the beginning, all the soldiers are awaiting battle. Rumors excite the soldiers on and off to the point where they don't even listen anymore. At this point Henry is still a boy. He thinks that war will be beautiful and romantic as the stories portrayed.

Hearing a rumor he began to think to himself. "Previously, he had never felt obliged to wrestle too seriously with this question. In his life, he had taken certain things for granted, never challenging his belief in ultimate success and bothering little about means and roads. But here he was confronted with a thing of moment. It had suddenly appeared to him that perhaps in a battle he might run." (Ch. 1). The next day he realizes that the tall soldier, Jim Conklin, was wrong about going into battle. He began to compare himself to his peers, and decided that he would like to have had another soldier he knew to think the same way he did. Chapter 2- "He occasionally tried to fathom a comrade with seductive sentences. He looked about to find men in the proper moods. All...