Symbolism in the Red Badge of Courage

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Many books and other works of literature have elements in the writing to enhance the reader’s experience. Without these components, the story may be dull and uninteresting. Imagine a novel so straightforward that nothing is left to the imagination. Obviously no one would like to read a copy. Symbolism in The Red Badge of Courage is a feature present throughout the entire book affecting the view of war; examples include the tattered man symbolizing the amount of carelessness and lack of pity toward men, scars and wounds from battle showing the harsh reality and absence of glory in obtaining them, and the rain “washing away” the faults of Henry’s past during the war.

Notably, the tattered man is an excellent representation of how soldiers in the Civil War did not mourn deaths as the losses came about so often. First of all, each dying soldier is more than a dying soldier to himself. Shortly after Henry discovers the tattered man, the man “looked after him in astonishment” (Crane 52). The tattered man was probably expecting Henry to do more than he was but Henry does not have the respect to do so. Also, Henry is aware of the fact that the tattered man will probably die if Henry leaves him behind, but he does anyway. After Henry utters “good-by” to the tattered man whom then asked where he was going, Henry lies, “over there” (Crane 59). Henry Obviously does not care enough about the tattered man to keep him alive and is leaving for selfish reasons. Summarily, the tattered man is well suited to symbolize most wounded and forgotten-about soldiers. Particularly, battle wounds are a main symbol in the book partly because they are the title, The Red Badge of Courage. Honestly, Henry sees wounds as heroic and is jealous of those who have them, although he does not want to go through the process of obtaining one. The tattered man asks him, “Where yeh hit, ol’ boy?” and then Henry panics and runs away (Crane 51). Henry does not want to admit his lack of wounds to anyone....
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