Comparing Red Badge of Courage and Great Expectations

Comparing Red Badge of Courage and Great Expectations

Length: 633 words (1.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


Red Badge of Courage and Great Expectations

 

The hero of The Red Badge of Courage, which was written by Stephen Crane in the late 1800s, was a young private named Henry Fleming, who was fighting for the North in the American Civil War. Like Pip, in Great Expectations, Henry was a commoner. He was new to the Army and few people knew his name. The main difference between Henry and the earlier heroes is that Henry was not born with leadership qualities or traits like bravery. In fact, in the first battle he fought, he proved himself to be a coward by running from it.

 

    Henry's flaws were very similar to those of Pip and the Greek heroes. Arrogance was a flaw that many Greek mortal heroes, especially Odysseus and Oedipus, had. When Henry realized that none of his fellow soldiers were aware that he had run from the first battle, he regained his self-pride and self-confidence. Before long, he had convinced himself that he was "chosen of the gods and doomed to greatness." At first, Pip believed that status and wealth determined the "goodness" of a person. Henry had similar illusions. He believed that a war hero was a person who could manage to escape every tight situation he got into, and also a godly figure people looked up to and were fascinated by. His other illusions were that the only the best could survive against the hideous "dragons" of war, and that the enemy was a machine that never tired or lost will to fight.

 

    An important difference between Henry and the Greek heroes was that Henry's flaws were recognized by the people of Crane's day, whereas the Greeks did not see any flaws in their heroes, like Odysseus (they thought traits like arrogance were cool). Another difference between Henry and the Greek heroes can be seen in their heroic acts. Greek war heroes were praised for their outward bravery and military genius (how many enemy soldiers they killed, or how they were able to trick the enemy). Near the end, Henry was a war hero in the eyes of his fellow soldiers and commanding officers (he fought fearlessly and led charges), but what was truly heroic about Henry was the way he changed and developed.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Comparing Red Badge of Courage and Great Expectations." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=15817>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Red Badge of Courage - Henry is No Hero Essay

- 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....   [tags: Red Badge Courage Essays]

Research Papers
899 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about Comparing Maturation in Catcher in the Rye and Red Badge of Courage

- Maturation in Catcher in the Rye and Red Badge of Courage   The Catcher in the Rye and The Red Badge of Courage detail the gradual maturation of two immature boys into self-reliant young men. The steady speed at which Salingerís and Craneís language streams enables the reader to see the independent events that lead up to the ultimate rite of passage for both Henry and Holden. Although the pinnacle of maturity Holden reached concerned his pessimistic view of the world and Henryís was a unifying moment of bravery, both boys experienced an epiphany over the course of their respective tales....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
1430 words (4.1 pages)

Expectations versus Reality in Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage

- Expectations versus Reality in Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage The notion that war is an exciting, romantic endeavor full of glory and heroism has existed for centuries.  Stephen Crane set out to demystify war through his novel The Red Badge of Courage, which traces the experiences of a young soldier in the American Civil War. Crane shows the true nature of war by contrasting Henry Fleming's romantic expectations with the reality that he encounters. This contrast between romantic vision and cold reality can be seen early in the novel, with Henry's departure from home....   [tags: Red Badge Courage Essays]

Research Papers
811 words (2.3 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]

Research Papers
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]

Research Papers
909 words (2.6 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]

Research Papers
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]

Research Papers
761 words (2.2 pages)

Flag Power in The Red Badge of Courage Essays

- Flag Power in The Red Badge of Courage       Henry Fleming, after receiving his red badge of courage‹a blow to the head‹takes over the role of color-bearer during a vicious combat. As he sees his comrade sink to the ground in pain, he fights with his friend Wilson for the esteemed position of flag-bearer and finally wrenches the Union colors from the grasp of the dying man. With the flag in hand, Henry feels immediately empowered; the ubiquitous symbol of freedom and courage invests him with his own power and valiancy as he rushes headlong towards the enemy lines....   [tags: Red Badge Courage Essays]

Research Papers
1161 words (3.3 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]

Research Papers
584 words (1.7 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)

Related Searches

(This was true for Pip also.) When Henry found himself shooting at nothing, and was then praised by his lieutenant for, he learned what being a war hero really was. When he found an opportunity to examine his deeds, he discovered that he had proven himself a courageous leader without even knowing it. Then he realized that courage was a delirium, a sublime absence of selfishness. He learned that war was not really as bad as he had imagined, but it was not all glory either. When he got a closer look at the enemy, he realized that they were ordinary men, just like him, not machines.

 

In the end, he could look at all of his achievements and failures accurately and not feel too proud or too guilty about any one of them. He was able to see the shame that he felt for deserting the tattered soldier in the middle of the field, as a check on his ego instead of a burden on his mind. Finally, all of those images he had had of war since he was a child, turned into images of peace. This shows that Henry matured throughout the book. Through his own experiences, he learned that leading a simple, peaceful life is far better than leading a war-like life, which may be packed with adventure and excitement, but also has its dangers and hardships. In comparison, Pip learned that a simple, but happy life is more desirable than a stressful, opulent life.
Return to 123HelpMe.com