"The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane

Essay by BJ GrimmHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 1996

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The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane is a book based on a young soldier engaging in the civil war. The psychological conflict that he faces throughout the story is both internal and external. The battles are fought in the readers face to show the young soldiers' conflict with himself, other soldiers and the battle itself. With Stephen Cranes amazing power of description the reader becomes engulfed in the battle at hand and feels that the conflicts of the soldiers are becoming their own.

The main topic of the book is fear and how it would affect a young man in a bloody war, like The Civil War. The war becomes the young soldiers worst nightmare, which gives him conflicting thoughts, emotions and fears. The young character soon realizes as all of these things affect him emotionally and physically, that the war is very different from what he had hoped it was going to be.

Although the soldier becomes nervous and even runs away at the Battle of Chancellorsville, he eventually returns to find that he and his fellow soldiers have grown. They had learned more about themselves then they ever believed possible. The young soldier becomes a man with plenty of courage by the end of this book.

Stephen Crane brings the reader into his book, first with his power of describing details so eloquently, and second by telling us very little of the young soldiers' life, leaving him a mystery. Crane may have even been generalizing all the young soldiers into one. Although he does tell the reader his name, Henry Flemming, he usually refers to him as "The soldier." He also tells the reader parts of his life up until present, but most of the character is left very much in the dark. It is...