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Henry Fleming and The red Badge of Courage
The main character of this book is Henry Fleming, mostly referred to as The Youth or Youth. The Youth has dark, curly brown hair also; he is a young teenager and is average height when compared to the Tall Soldier. Henry is insecure because he is going through a difficult stage between being a "man" and being a "boy". Henry can't wait to get to war when he signs up but during the book Henry learns that war has a lot of affects on people emotionally and physically. Henry's flaw is that he is afraid of making himself look bad and he is worried that he is going to be a coward and run away from battle. Henry really wants to be a "man" and be courageous. I once heard a swim coach give an extremely good definition of courage. He said "To me courage is not to be unafraid but it is to be afraid but one does it anyways and doesn't worry about being afraid. I think Henry thought of courageous as fearless and that is also part of his flaw.
The first time Henry's flaw gets him in trouble is in chapter 10 and when he gets his chance to go into battle he flees. He at first thinks the war is boring but he soon learns that war is very frightening. When Henry flees he also shows insecurity when he tries to make up an excuse for why he wasn't with the rest of the regiment. Henry thinks very poorly of himself at this point and really anyone would run from a war, I don't think he was ready.
The second time Henry's flaw is evident is in chapter 12 when Henry tries to stop a man to ask what is going on with the battle since he ran away. The man was also trying to get away and hit Henry on the head with his rifle. This is evidence of his flaw because if he hadn't run away then he wouldn't have to bother this man. Henry is also too afraid to go back without any knowledge of what happened.
The first time Henry's flaw improves is when he is mad at himself for running away from the battle and he begins to relate to nature.
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The next time Henry's flaw improves is when they come back from a battle and Wilson thought he may die so he gave Henry a packet of letters to give to his family. Wilson lives and Henry thinks about whether he should give the letters back or keep them and maybe tease Wilson about them. Henry then takes into consideration that this man has been through this war and the last thing he needs is that humiliation. Henry also thinks about Wilson may have seen him run away and he may say something. So quickly he hands them back to Wilson and he doesn't make a big deal about it.
The final time Henry improves is when Henry knows that they cannot give up now. He really becomes a leader when everyone is about ready to give up. Henry encourages his regiment to do whatever they can to win this battle. Some of the reason, I think, Henry wants this to be a great battle is because he and Wilson over hear the General say that they were like mule drivers. Henry wants to prove him wrong and doesn't even think about being a coward.
I think Henry learns his lesson when he sees Jim die and he realizes that war is not something that can ever make a positive impact in someone's life. Also, when he is at the final battle and he has the flag he then realizes that war isn't about you surviving but it is about your team and its about being a team and not only worrying about yourself. This book shows verisimilitude because every nation goes to war at one point and, sadly, everyone in our world doesn't get along, war is part of life.
My opinion of this book is it was good, but the beginning is a little boring but once I got into the story and learned more about Henry. This book made the war seem so real. This let me know what soldiers might be thinking during a time like this.
I recommend this book to mature and upper level readers. Even though this is a war book I think girls and boys will equally like it. I recommend this to mature people because the war is sad and to get what Henry is going through may take a lot of maturity.