Western Civilization III
February 15th, 2013
The Red Badge of Courage
From the first page, The Red Badge of Courage, the main character, Henry, has preconceived ideals of war, that lead him to believe that “it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.” Henry enlists in the service because of the “newspapers, the village gossip” and his own idealistic images about what war will be. Henry joins the war not because he believes in the war, and not because of some sense of family duty or country duty, he does it so he can come back after the war and be a hero among regular men. He wants the praise and accolades that one gets for doing such a great deed. Henry had a false sense of what war is really like because his lack of experience causes him to correlate real time war to epic ancient battles. He idealistically thinks that his first battle will be “one of those great affairs of the earth (6).” Henry desperately wants to follow in the footsteps of Ancient Greek heroes and become a hero himself. He lacks experience in war; he can only imagine what war is genuinely like. The Red Badge of Courage to Henry is a battle wound received in the war. Henry thinks that getting a wound during battle means that he had the courage to fight the war and in doing so, he received his own red badge of courage.
I think the war for Henry and the others in his regiment; the war was a very scary and unorganized. They were face to face with their enemies, for some it could have been their own family. There was very little, if any training for this war. They were told when to move out and fight.
I think Crane made a realistic impression through Henry’s eyes. I don’t think it’s an “overly - romantic and glorified picture.” He might have used words that most people when speaking of war wouldn’t have used to describe the death and destruction of war, but in my opinion, Crane gave a vivid image that I myself can imagine in my mind. After reading this book, I can...
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