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The Red Badge of Courage
By Stephen Crane
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane is about a young man name Henry Fleming who had no idea how horrible war really was. He wanted to feel the glory of being a hero. He also wanted to do something with his life instead of staying on the farm and helping out his mom. So he enlisted in the army. The time that this story took place was about late April and early May 1863. The place that it took place in and around Chancellorsville, Virginia. The whole story took placed during the Civil War. The main character in the book is Henry Fleming.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane traces the effects of war on a Union soldier, Henry Fleming, from his dreams of soldiering, to his actual enlistment, and through several battles of the Civil War. Henry Fleming was not happy with his boring life on the farm. He wanted to become a hero in war and have girls loving him for his glorious achievements in battle. He knew his mother would not like to see him go to war, but it was his decision to make. He dreamed of the exciting battles of war and the thrill of fighting glorious battles. He didnít want to stay on the farm with nothing to do, so he made the final decision to enlist into the Union army.
After enlisting he finds himself just sitting around with nothing to do. He manages to make friends with two other soldiers, John Wilson and Jim Conklin. Wilson was as excited about going to war as Henry, while Jim was confident about the success of the new regiment. Henry started to realize after a few days of marching, that their regiment was just wandering aimlessly, going in circles, like a vast blue demonstration. They kept marching on without purpose, direction, or fighting. Through time Henry started to think about the battles in a different way, a more close and experienced way, he started to become afraid that he might run from battle when duty calls. He felt like a servant, doing whatever his superiors told him.
When the regiment finally discovers a battle-taking place, Jim gives Henry a little packet in a yellow envelope, telling Henry that this will be his first and last battle. The regiment managed to hold off the Confederates for the first charge, but then the Confederates came back like machines of steel with re-enforcement, driving the regiment back. One man started to flee then another, and another still. Henry was scared, confused, and in a trance as he saw his forces depleting. He finally got up and started running like a proverbial chicken, which has lost the direction of safety.
After running away, Henry started rationalizing his behavior after running from the enemy. At first he fells he was a stupid coward for running, then he feels he was just saving himself for later. He felt nature didnít want him to die, even though his side is losing. He believes he was intelligent for running and hopes he will die in battle just for spite. The same time Henry met Jim, he also met a tattered man. In the next charge, Henry and the tattered man see Jim die a slow and painful death. After Jimís death, and a little talking, Henry, though not realizing it, leaves the tattered man alone on the battlefield, hurting inside, and dangerous to himself.
In the charge ahead, Henry starts asking the soldiers why they are running. He grabbed a comrade by the arm and asked the man ďwhy- why-ď not letting go of the man's arm, so the man hit Henry over the head with the butt of his rifle, giving Henry his first Red Badge of Courage. Dazed, Henry stumbles around the battlefield struggling to stay on his feet, until a cheery man comes around and helps Henry to get back to his regiment. At his regiment he confronts Wilson and has his wound on his head attended to. After a short rest he again gets back into battle. After the regiment lost that battle, the generals had the regiment marching again. Henry felt the generals were a lot of
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The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, Henry Fleming
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