Title: The Red Badge of Courage
Author: Stephen Crane
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author and Background:
Stephen Crane was born on November 1st, 1871. He wrote several books such as Maggie and Georges Mother, but The Red Badge of Courage was by far his best work and biggest seller. In 1900 he became ill and was nearly broke so he couldn’t afford his multiple health treatments. On June 5th, 1900 he died and left his belongings to Cora Taylor, a close friend.
The Red Badge of Courage takes place during the civil war and is heavily realistic, even though; Crane had never actually been in a war.
Story starts with the 304th regiment being told that they are marching to what they think is a battle. Henry, the main character, wonders if he is strong enough and has enough courage to fight. During his first battle he fights and doesn’t run away and they win. The next day the enemy attacks them and Henry flees from the battle like a coward. He wonders off and wonders if what he did was right finding that nature agreed with him. Later he regroups with his squad and fights with rage due to his friend Jim Conklin’s death. Henry regains his courage and fight like a true soldier and they win the battle. After the battle he lives in peace or dies in peace.
Stephen Crane uses pervasive imagery throughout the book. He describes scenes with such detail that at times it seems you can become lost in the description. For example, “Presently he began to feel the effects of the war atmosphere-a blistering sweat, a sensation that his eyeballs were about to crack like hot stones” (39). The author also tends to name soldiers by their appearance rather than their name. He shows this in names such as “the tattered man”, or “the spectral soldier”. Quotes:
“The youth started up with a little cry when his eyes first swept over this motionless mass of men, thick-spread upon the ground, pallid, and in strange postures.”
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