The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage, written by Stephen Crane, is a story of a young man by the name of Henry Fleming who has to deal face to face with his definition of courage while fighting in battle during the Civil War. Throughout the book Henry’s view of courage, honor, and what it means to be a man, change when his innocence and inexperience with being a soldier quickly fade away. This young soldier learns to think outside the realms of his self-interest, and develops a better perception and understanding for what it means to be a part of something bigger. It is Henry’s youth that provides him with some of his best and some of his worst attributes. His virgin soldier outlook provides him with a fresh perspective, and places him at the opposite side of the spectrum from the worn-out veteran soldiers. Henry envisions rather traditional ideas of courage and honor. He tends to look through rose colored glasses when visualizing the image of dying in battle. The author made it known that Henry had joined the army because he was enticed by the wonder of military conflict. His youth allows him to romanticize such realities. Then again because he is young, he does not have any understanding of what actually takes place in battle. He does not have enough experience to test his dreamy notions. Because his inexperience is causing him to fantasize about war, Henry is made to be vain and egocentric because he truly desires to be made a hero. The motives that make up Henry’s desire to win glory in battle are far from noble. The deeper meaning and reason for the war are not the motivating factors in his soldier role-playing drive. For him, it is all about the reputation. Henry feels that the battlefield is a stage for him to put on a jaw-dropping performance, one that earns him a reputation. However, when faced with war, while Henry and his regiment were trying to enjoy a brief moment of sleep, they were awoken by another surge by the opposing regiment. In...
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