Symbols and Symbolism in Crane's The Red Badge of Courage Essay

Symbols and Symbolism in Crane's The Red Badge of Courage Essay

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Characters as Symbols in Crane's The Red Badge of Courage

 
The Red Badge of Courage was a significant novel in the way that the characters were portrayed. Crane hardly ever used the actual names of the soldiers. He simply described them as the loud soldier, the tall soldier, the cheery soldier, and the tattered soldier. Crane made the characters stand out in the use of describing them and promoting their relationship with Henry and his struggle during the battles. Crane did a fantastic job with relating the different characters with different roles that Henry was involved in. The loud soldier, tall soldier, cheery soldier, and tattered soldier all have a significant part in creating the novel. The characters in the book are there to serve Henry by prompting him to action or reflection or by being a comparison or contrast to him.

In The Red Badge of Courage, the loud soldier's real name was Wilson. His character dramatically changed as the novel progressed. At the beginning of the novel, Wilson is an extremely loud and boastful soldier. This is exactly how he received the name loud soldier. Wilson is initially loud, opinionated, and naïve. For the first half of the book, Crane refers to him almost exclusively as "the loud soldier." Some examples of his loud and obnoxious self was when Crane described him as the loud one from a corner and when the loud soldier kept saying "Huh, and shucks" (Crane 11)! When Henry and the loud soldier talk of fighting the loud soldier seemed so confident and self-assured that he said, "We've got `em now. At last, by the eternal thunders, we'll lick `em good" (19)! Another time Henry encounters the loud soldier he indignantly assures Henry that if battle occurs, he will...


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...to help Henry. Overall, these characters have a strong role and relationship with Henry.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Berryman, John, Stephen Crane: A Critical Biography.  1950.  Rpt. In Discovering Authors.  Vers. 1.0. CD-ROM.  Detriot:  Gale, 1992.

Bloom, Harold, ed.  Modern Critical Interpretations:  Stephan Crane's The Red Badge of Courage.  New Yourk:  Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

Cody, Edwin H. Stephen Crane.  Revised Edition.  Boston:  Twayne Publishers, 1980.

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage.  Logan, IA:  Perfection Learning Corporation, 1979.

Gibson, Donald B. The Red Badge of Courage:  Redefining the Hero.  Boston:  Twayne Publishers, 1988.

Wolford, Chester L.  "Stephen Crane."  Critical Survey of Long Fiction.  Ed. Frank N. Magill.  English Language Series.  Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Salem Press, 1991.

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