Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage
Kelsey Christian
The book The Red Badge of Courage was a very moving and interesting book that has many examples of the literary devices; irony, motif, and metaphor. These three things are very important in many forms of writing. Irony is an outcome of events different to what was or might have been expected. Motif is a recurring theme, symbol, or idea in artistic or literary work. An extended metaphor is the comparison of one thing to another that recurs throughout the novel. This book is filled with these elemental devices which are very important in every field of literature. An example of irony can be found in chapters 7 & 8, an example of motif can be found in chapters 9 – 12, and an example of extended metaphor can be found in chapters 5 & 6. This is The Red Badge of Courage. Examples of irony are continuous throughout this book. Just looking at the title of the book is also ironic for Henry did not, in my opinion, get his red badge of “courage” by being courageous. He received it by being hit by another private of his own regiment and not by doing something courageous (67, 68). In my opinion it should be called a “Red Badge of Shame” instead. Another example of irony can be found in chapter 1. It introduces Jim Conklin, a soldier in Henry’s regiment. He goes to wash his clothes, but comes flying back with news that he heard from a “reliable” soldier. But this “reliable friend” obviously isn’t reliable because he didn’t hear these news directly from the source, but from another soldier, and so on (6). This is ironic because they all act like the news are completely correct and exact, but it isn’t. Irony is used in this book to describe Henry’s journey from a raw recruit to a seasoned soldier. Crane uses dramatic, situational, and verbal irony in this novel, from the beginning to the end of this book. Crane uses several motifs in this story to illustrate his symbolism as well. Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts,...
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