Stephen Crane and His Undeniable Classic: The Red Badge of Courage Essay

Stephen Crane and His Undeniable Classic: The Red Badge of Courage Essay

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The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War is unquestionably the best known novel that Stephen Crane ever wrote. This short novel was written in 1895 and was well received in the United Kingdom. After this novel was written, more and more people, and even the critics, began to view this novel as something more; even today many consider The Red Badge of Courage as a piece of classic literature. Crane wrote as “a realist, a naturalist, an impressionist, and a symbolist” (Kincheloe). This style of writing has never been done so well before, Crane paved the way for other writers. They see this book as a classic mainly based on the fact that it expresses some artistic quality--an expression of life, truth, and beauty, stands the test of time, and has a certain universal appeal. Crane uses realism in his style of writing, universal topic of war, and influence on other writers to stand the test of time and be a classic novel.

One of the main topics in The Red Badge of Courage is the transformation of Henry Fleming. He grows from a young, cowardly, naïve solider into a strong, self-assured, confident man. This transformation may have been quick but it was drastic. Readers witness Fleming’s maturation as the novel goes on, “He has become a man… Crane's careful use of symbolism has provided an appropriate means for conveying his character's complex development with psychological realism” (McDermott 331). Crane focuses on transformation by not just having Fleming mature but also another soldier, Wilson, “Henry’s growth is certainly as real as the parallel transformation of Wilson, who is introduced as a craven loudmouth and emerges a stalwart, reliable soldier” (Satterfield). People who read this book can relate to Fl...


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.... 3rd ed. Vol. 23. N.p.: University of California, 1968. 324-331. Web.
McNair, Charles. "The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane: Blue Coats. Gray Coats. Red Badges." Paste Magazine. 20 Aug. 2013. Web.
"Overview: The Red Badge of Courage." Literature and Its Times: Profiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them. Joyce Moss and George Wilson. Vol. 2: Civil Wars to Frontier Societies (1800-1880s). Detroit: Gale, 1997. Literature Resources from Gale. Web.
Satterfield, Ben. "From Romance to Reality: The Accomplishment of Private Fleming." Critical Insights: The Red Badge of Courage. Ed. Carl Link Eric. 1 vols. Salem Press, 2010. Salem Literature Web.
"The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane." Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Tom Burns. Vol. 132. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2008. 38-96. Literature Criticism Online. Gale.

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