Impression in Red Badge

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The Courage of Impressionism

Literary impressionism is exemplified by the author Steven Crane through the novel, The Red Badge of Courage. In reference terms, impressionism means: "a literary style characterized by the use of details and mental associations to evoke subjective and sensory impressions rather than re-creation of objective reality" ( In the essay, Impressionism in The Red Badge of Courage, James Nagel suggests a focus on impressionism while reading the novel. An understanding of many organic features of impressionism and Crane's personal writing style are needed to bring full enjoyment of this novel.

The Red Badge of Courage is suggested to be one of the greatest war novels of all time. It is a story that realistically depicts the American Civil War through the eyes of Henry Fleming, and ordinary farm boy who decides to become a soldier. Henry, who is fighting for the Union, is very determined to become a hero. The story shows Henry's voyage from being a coward to a brave man. This voyage is the classic trip from innocence to experience. The story starts out with a heated debate between the soldiers. One boy had heard a rumor that the regiment would be moving on to fight a battle the next day. Some of the soldiers agree with this boy, while others think that their regiment will never partake in a real battle. While watching this argument, Henry decides that he would rather go lie down and think about taking part in this debate. Steven Crane shows the readers that this story is more than a boy going off to war but is about how he grows up and eventually finds his true identity in life. Using hidden symbols throughout the story, Crane emphasizes on some of the most important symbols through the characteristics of each soldier. The most important symbolism that is identified in this novel is "impressionism." Impressionism has often been viewed as having a large impact on many arts, especially painting. However,...
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