Henry in the Red Badge of Courage: A Hero or a Coward?

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  • Topic: Courage, Cowardice, Coward
  • Pages : 3 (918 words )
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  • Published : May 22, 2011
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Henry: A Hero or a Coward
Henry is one of the characters in the book The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Is Henry a male protagonist or a coward? Heroes are people who would go out and threaten their lives to save the lives of others rather than run away terrified. Cowards will not go out and risk their lives, they will run away. Cowards are also thought of as quitters. Henry is both a coward and a hero. In the beginning of the book, by Stephen Crane, Henry chooses run away from the fight, but towards the end of the book, he decides to take on the role of hero by accepting the most dangerous job any man could during the time of the Civil War, which was the flag bearer. The flag bearer is a man that would be in the front of the line. What makes this dangerous is that the enemy would be shooting towards him but not at him. Even though they were not allowed to shoot at the flag bearer, there would always be a remarkably high chance that he would get hit by a stray bullet because the guns they had during the civil war were extremely inaccurate.

There are times in The Red Badge of Courage when Henry shows his heroics. During the battle, Henry was running away but he stopped to take the responsibility of flag bearer. Henry didn’t have to do this but he did because he wanted to make up for the cowardly things he did. “The dead man, swinging with bended back, seemed to be obstinately tugging, in ludicrous and awful ways, for the possession of the flag.” (Crane 116) Henry was running back and tried to acquire the flag from the man who is almost dead. This shows Henry’s heroics because the man who is almost dead did not want to give up the flag because he knew how important that flag is, and he thinks Henry is just going to do some kind of cowardly action he did near the beginning of the book. The dead man was obstinately tugging which means he did not want Henry to have the flag. Henry wanted the...
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