Red Badge Of Courage

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Death, Blood and Destruction
The Red Badge of Courage, a Civil War novel by Stephen Crane, may be examined on various levels. One of those levels is a story about the cruelty and disasters of war. Young Henry Flemming, the protagonist, has dreamed his whole life of being in the army and despite his mother's discouragement, he enlists with a Union regiment. Soon learning that the army is a big bore, Henry begins to view himself "merely as a part of a vast blue demonstration". Clearly, Henry does not know why he is going to fight, he just knows that he is part of a large group of men.
As the novel unfolds, it is plain that Crane is writing about the horrors and tragedies of war, even by using the idea of contrasting the events of the war with nature. Although many critics have viewed the book as a naturalistic or realistic novel, some specific examples can describe how it relates to the anti-war theme.
As Henry is on guard duty one evening, he converses across the river with a Confederate soldier. "The youth liked him personally," says Crane. Henry's feeling towards his enemy shows that he is unclear about the war's purpose. At this point Henry probably would like to flee home. Henry is seeing the enemy as real and humane. He then describes how he feels shame about the war. Henry definitely knows that the war is wrong and that the people that have died and the soldier...

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