The red badge of Courage, by Steven Crane, has been considered one of the
greatest war novels of all time. It is a story that realistically depicts the American Civil
War through the eyes of Henry Fleming, an ordinary farm boy who decides to become a
soldier. Henry is very determined to become a hero, and the story tells Henrys voyage
from being a young coward to becoming a brave man. This voyage is the classic trip from
innocence to experience.
To begin, the story starts out with a huge debate between the soldiers. One boy
had heard a rumor that the regiment would be moving on to fight a battle the next day.
Some of the soldiers agree with this boy. Others think that their regiment will never go
into a real battle. While watching this argument, Henry, the protagonist, decides that he
would rather go lay down and think rather then take part in the heated argument between
the soldiers. Henry, a simple farm boy, is rather excited when he hears the rumor that they
will be fighting soon. It had always been a dream of his to fight in a war, and become a
hero. Now his dream was coming true. Henry begins to think about what life was like
... child's participation in the war seems unbelievable. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier tells the story about how the child ... and merciless days of war. The author evidently didn't want to pressure on the readers, but rather wanted them to feel ... all horrors of the war so that no other child should ...
before he entered the army, and remembers some stories of war he has heard from old
veterans. This flashback is very effective in showing how his previous experiences have
affected his thoughts on war now. It is very clear that he is afraid that he will not be able
to withstand the pressures of a war. He keeps telling himself that if he wants to become a
hero and realizes he can not run away. He must stick out the battle with the rest of his
fellow soldiers. While marching along, Henry sees the first corpse he has ever seen. He
shows sorry for the man because the dead man had died in such poor conditions. The
souls of his shoes were worn bare. When Henry sees the corpse, he begins to wonder if his
generals actually know what they are doing. He thinks that the generals are leading him
right into a trap and right into the middle of the enemy, the rebels.
Henry deals with his fear of battle by acting calm and confident. He acts as if he
has been in a thousand battles, and complains about the walking. It shows one of Henry’s
defense mechanisms and how he can use his arrogance to hide his innocence.
Regiment 304 moves on to battle the next day. Henry is getting very scared, but is
too proud to talk to any of the other soldiers about his fear of war. All the soldiers are
very anxious to fight in the war. Tom and Henry talk about how they are not going to
run away from war, and how they want to become big time war heroes. This is weird
because in the end of the book you will find that their wishes come true. When the battle
starts, all the soldiers get very anxious and nervous. Tom and Henry don’t turn out to be
as brave as they think that they could be. While hiding, Tom finds Henry, and gives him an
envelope of letters for his family. Tom believes that this will be his first and his last battle.
Henry ends up fulfilling his worst nightmare. Instead of sticking out the battle with the rest
of his regiment, he hides behind some brush in order to spare himself from getting shot.
He listens in on the battle, and to much of his surprise, he hears cheering from what’s left
... encountered during ones life, but the fact that these men were just everyday soldiers made that time just that much more easy. ... this book Ambrose exemplifies the fact that there were many regular citizens in the war and that ... . During the war there were many casualties, as a result more regular citizens were being drafted to go right into battle. In ...
of his regiment. He then takes off into the woods in anger. While running through the
woods his conscience begins to speak to him. He keeps telling himself that he is a coward
and a deserter. Out of guilt, Henry runs back to the battle site, and meets again with his
regiment. These actions showed Henry’s maturity and desire to be a war hero.
When Henry meets back up with his regiment an older man begins to have a
discussion with him. The old man asks Henry “where yuh hit, ol’ boy?”. With massive
feelings of guilt, Henry shrugs away from the man and runs back into the woods. From
behind a tree, he can see all the wounded soldiers on the battle field. “At times he regarded
the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be
happy. He wished that he had a wound, a red badge of courage.” This shows Henrys
desire to be a wounded war hero. He does not want to be set apart from the other boys as
a coward. As soon as the old soldier passed him, he went back to the lines and continued
on with the soldiers. He starts walking next to Jim Conklin, a soldier that he knew pretty
well. They are talking, when all of a sudden, Jim runs away. He falls onto the ground and
dies. This death has a very big affect on Henry. Jim was his first friend to be killed in
battle. He feels guilty that Jim was put through so much pain, and he just ran away, like a
After spending the night sleeping near Jim’s dead body, Henry woke up and was
ready to march again. He meets up with another older soldier, who is crazy and dying.
Henry gets very angry at the man for talking to him, and runs away, swearing that the man
knows his secret. He refuses to go back to the regiment because he thinks that everyone
will regard him as a coward.
All of a sudden, Henry sees the soldiers’ frantically running. One grabs him, and
Henry asks him why they are running so fast. The only response he gets is a whack in the
head with the butt of a soldiers’ gun. A few moments later, when Henry is able to get up,
he begins to march with passer by soldiers. A soldier walking next to him notices the
wound on his head, and automatically assumes it to be a bullet wound. The kind-hearted
... becomes Henry's'Red Badge of Courage'; . Henry is then lead back to his regiment by a 'cheery soldier'; who helps wandering soldiers. This leads Henry into ... hero that he wanted to be originally when another battle is over, all Henry has accomplished is negated. Many critics found the ... before him, but they are driven away. In the next battle he is so frightened that he runs away becoming one ...
soldier leads Henry back to his regiment. The first person Henry sees when he gets to the
group is his friend Tom. In order to act as a big hero, Henry makes up a big story about
how he got shot in the head, and then got separated from the regiment. Tom takes great
care of Henry, cleans him up and makes sure that he gets enough food to eat, and a good
After being pampered by Tom, Henry realizes that this is not the way to becoming
a hero. In order to become a hero, he must fight in battles, and get a real red badge of
courage, not just a knock in the head. He returns the envelope of letters to Tom. This part
of the book makes a huge change in character for both of the boys. It shows their
movement from innocence to experience.
From then on, the two men walk side by side while marching. They showed their
courage often in tough situations. Henry suspected that his generals were leading them
right into trouble, and he gets very angry about that fact that he knows what they are
about to encounter. Henry tells Tom about his speculations, but Tom will not believe him.
During the next battle, Henry shows his courage by being the first and the fastest soldier
to fire. After the victorious battle, Henry and Tom over hear a conversation between
generals and captains. They find out that the next battle they are going to be fighting is
going to be very tough, and the general is looking for spare regiment. The leader feels that
there is no way Regiment 304 will survive the battle alone, and calls the soldiers ‘mule
drivers’, thinking that they are slow, and rather stupid. When Henry and Tom hear this,
they are very upset. They are determined to fight as hard as they can, and with all their
heart and souls.
Henry and Tom prove themselves well in the battle. They steal the confederate
flag, and are both brave enough to go out on the field without weapons. After the
regiment retreats, the general recognizes both soldiers as extremely brave, and comment
... question his bravery and he feels rather insecure. In the regiments first battle, Henry fights well. His admiration for himself reaches a disgusting ... vain. He even goes so far as to criticize the generals. Henry's conceit continues to grow: His self pride was now ... a man. Understanding Henry's personality is imperative to understand the real meaning of 'The Red Badge of Courage'. The book itself ...
that they are fit to be generals themselves. This final action is what finalizes the movement
from innocence to experience for Henry and Tom. They went into the war as little boys,
and now they are moving on as men. They have both earned their red badges of courage,
as well as the hero status they had dreamed of obtaining forever.
In conclusion, The Red Badge of Courage is a great novel and I hope you will take
the time to read it. But, if The Red Badge of Courage is not for you, Steven Crane has
many more great novels