red badge of courage

Topics: Hero, Ethics, Character Pages: 2 (409 words) Published: November 26, 2013


The Red Badge Of Courage

The book The Red Badge Of Courage is about how the main character (Henry Fleming) develops courage through the variety of experiences in his life.

Throughout the book The Red Badge of Courage, the author talks about a character named Henry. Henry is known as “the young soldier” and “the youth.” Both the best and worst characteristics of Henry’s youth mark him. Unlike the veteran soldiers who he fights during his first battle, Henry is not weary. He believes in traditional models of courage and honor, and glamorizes the image of dying in battle by stirring the Greek tradition of a dead soldier being laid upon his shield. On the other hand, because he is young, Henry has yet to experience enough to test these conceptions. As a result, his most passionate convictions are based on little else than fantasies, making him seem self-centered.

The reason's Henry wanting to win glory in battle are far from noble. The arts of the war do not motivate him; neither does any deeply held, personal sense of right and wrong. Instead, Henry desires honor. He hopes that an impressive performance on the battlefield will make him a hero among men. Because of the adapting effects of religion and education, rarely distinguish themselves so dramatically. After running from battle, Henry feels little guilt about invoking his own intelligence in order to justify his courage. He calls the soldiers who stayed to fight as idiots who were not “wise enough to save themselves from the flurry of death.” This is how he restores his fragile self-pride. When Henry returns to camp and lies about the nature of his wound, he doubts neither his manhood or his right to behave as overblown as a veteran. Henry’s lack of a true moral sense obvious itself in the emptiness of the honor and glory that he seeks. He feels no responsibility to earn these awards. If others call him a hero, he believes he is one. Henry does not cheat his way to the honor that he...
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