The Red Badge of Courage - Henry is No Hero Essay

The Red Badge of Courage - Henry is No Hero Essay

Length: 899 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Red Badge of Courage - Henry is No Hero

 
      In The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane explores the theme of courage and heroism in depth. He develops these themes through the main character, Henry Fleming. Henry is a naïve young man faced with the harsh realities of war, in this book, some argue that Henry is transformed into a heroic "quiet manhood" while others see Henry as the same young man who ran from battle in the beginning of the book. I think Henry doesn't change, his heroic status acquired at the end of the book isn't truly him, instead he merely is motivated by fear of dying and being rejected by his fellow soldiers.

 

At the beginning of the novel Henry is disappointed of war; he had far greater expectations of war. He wants one thing out of this experience, Glory, and he would go to any extreme to fulfill it. In battle Henry acts impulsively and is easily manipulated, he flees from battle at the sight of others running. When he realizes his cowardice he rationalizes without end to why he ran. He justifies that nature also flees at the sight of fear when he scares a squirrel to runoff. Henry acts shallow and vain when he manipulates his friend, Wilson; he uses the letters Wilson gave him as leverage if Wilson finds out Henry's "crimes". His pride is restored when he finds out that he doesn't get caught. He is constantly comparing himself to others, and doesn't judge himself by the same standards as he does others. I think Henry is envious of his friends. The only thing the tattered man wanted is warm pea soup and a warm bed, but he wants to survive to be there for his children. I think Henry admires the tattered man's selflessness and courage, he never really complained abo...


... middle of paper ...


...ck at his General for calling them mule drivers by dying in battle. In reality Henry was an insignificant soldier and the General would never care whether he died in battle or not. To me, a hero doesn't try to hide behind his insecurities, like Henry did, he faces them.

 

In conclusion, I think Henry was not a hero in this novel, in fact I thought he acted more like a coward. Though during brief periods of time Henry physically acted heroically, his moral character was weak, trying to cover up his psychological wounds with self-justification and delusion. I think towards the end of the novel Henry abandons the notion of becoming a hero, mostly because it is unrealistic. Instead, he settles with a more humble title of being a man.

 

Work Cited:

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

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

No Heros in The Red Badge of Courage and A Farewell to Arms Essay

- No Heros in The Red Badge of Courage and A Farewell to Arms        Many great literary novels have the protagonist, the main character of the novel, being portrayed as the "hero".  There are many different deeds and actions that can characterize a person as a hero such as saving someone from a burning house at the risk of one's own life.  The main distinguishing characteristic of a true hero is self-sacrifice, whether it be scarifice of your own personal desires or ideals or sacrifice of physical well being to help others.  There are a few novels in which the main character of the work does not exemplify the deeds and thought of a true hero.  Two such works include St...   [tags: Red Badge of Courage Essays]

Better Essays
1594 words (4.6 pages)

Henry Fleming In Red Badge Of Courage Essay

- Henry Fleming in Red Badge of Courage The Civil War forced many young boys out of childhood and into adulthood. Most of these young boys were not prepared for war, and Henry Fleming was one of these boys. Henry Fleming's life in New York was routine. He had his normal share of friends and lived on a farm. When Henry got up in the mornings, he always knew exactly what the day had in store for him. This simple and boring life drove Henry to enlist. Henry wanted some excitement and to be seen by everyone as a hero....   [tags: Red Badge Of Courage]

Better Essays
584 words (1.7 pages)

The Changing Role of the Hero in The Red Badge of Courage Essay

- The Changing Role of the Hero in The Red Badge of Courage        With Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, the concept of the heroic figure begins to shift farther away from clearly defined characteristics. The idea of a single individual rising up to heroically conquer in any situation lost favor with the changing views of the nineteenth century leading Crane to address as a theme "the quandary of heroism in an unheroic age" (Beaver 67) by creating in Henry Fleming a figure both heroic and non-heroic all in one....   [tags: The Red Badge of Courage]

Better Essays
838 words (2.4 pages)

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane Essay examples

- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane The first steps in war are the steps of overcoming the line of comfort by solving the self-centered beliefs that will break you in a battlefront. Once overcoming those selfish traits and believe in yourself, that is when one flourish on the battle field....   [tags: crane red badge courage]

Better Essays
880 words (2.5 pages)

Red Badge of Courage Essay: Isolation

- Isolation in The Red Badge of Courage      Stephen Crane's literary technique has long been a matter of analysis and speculation. In The Red Badge of Courage Crane takes us into the life of a young man named Henry Fleming, who wants to enlist in the Army and fight in the war against the South. By using irony, similes, and symbols, Crane "paints" a vivid picture of what life was like for the fragile Henry Fleming. He opens our eyes to the vast reasons of separation for Fleming, and why he lived his life so independently....   [tags: Red Badge Courage Essays]

Better Essays
761 words (2.2 pages)

The Theme of Courage in Red Badge of Courage Essay

- The Theme of Courage in Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage is a fictional psychological portrait of a young soldier named Henry Fleming, tracing the thread of his emotions and reactions to events that transpire during an unnamed battle of the Civil War (spark notes). Henry is an average farmer from New York. Henry wants to go to war and become a hero like the one he read about in his school. The story starts off with everyone sitting in regiment camp by the river with rumors flowing around....   [tags: Red Badge Courage Essays]

Free Essays
1137 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage as Bildungsroman

- Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage as Bildungsroman           In the Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, the main character Henry Fleming joins the army as a young fledging and ultimately matures to a courageous soldier ready for battle. The Red Badge of Courage is considered a Bildungsroman since the reader traces Henry’s development morally, psychologically, and intellectually. Henry progresses from a feared youth who in the course of a couple of days, in the line of fire, has crossed the threshold to manhood....   [tags: The Red Badge of Courage]

Better Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Fantasies and Realities in Red Badge Of Courage

- Fantasies and Realities in The Red Badge Of Courage           In The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane the main character, Henry Fleming, thought he understood the war between the North and the South.  However, his understanding came “from his knowledge of fairy tales and mythology”(Gibson 21).  Henry thought that he was like the heroes that he read about in these stories.  He soon learned that real war was very different from his imaginative expectations.  Crane took Henry’s fantasies and contrasted them with the realities of the war to develop this main character into a mature person....   [tags: Red Badge Courage Essays]

Better Essays
2479 words (7.1 pages)

Adolescence in Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane Essay

- Adolescence in Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane Adolescence brings about many changes as a youth becomes an adult. For many people this passage is either tedious and painful or simple and barely noticeable. The anguish and torture that is usually associated with rites of passage and growing up is visible is Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage. Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, the novel reveals how the atrocities of war precipitate emotional growth and maturity, as well as acts dignity, individualism, and, of course, courage....   [tags: Red Badge of Courage]

Better Essays
909 words (2.6 pages)

Red Badge of Courage - The Power of Fear Exposed Essay

- Power of Fear Exposed in The Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, is a book based on a young soldier’s engagement in the Civil War. The psychological conflict that he faces throughout the story is both internal and external. The battles are fought in the reader’s face to show the young soldiers' conflict with himself, other soldiers, and the battle itself. With Stephen Crane’s amazing power of description, the reader becomes engulfed in the battle at hand and feels that the conflicts of the soldiers are becoming his own....   [tags: The Red Badge of Courage]

Better Essays
929 words (2.7 pages)