Red Badge Of Courage

Red Badge Of Courage

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In The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, Henry Fleming, a recruit with the 304th regiment can be considered a ‘hero’. But what exactly is a hero? Well, this is how the American Heritage Dictionary defines “hero”:
he·ro (hîr-o) n., pl. he·roes.
A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
I define “hero” as someone who has made a positive influence on someone’s life.
Stephen Crane defines ‘hero’ as someone who has overcome his fears. In all three definitions, Henry Fleming is a hero.

     Under the American Heritage Dictionary, Henry was a person who was noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his life. Henry enlisted in the 304th regiment during the Civil War, who fought for the Union. So, Henry was a hero, who fought for his country and became one of the regiment’s best fighters.
     Under my definition, Henry was a hero because he made a positive influence on Wilson’s life. Wilson was Henry’s loud, soldier friend who sympathized with Henry. Both being new recruits, they shared the harsh experiences of war and gained the reputation of being the regiment's best fighters. In other words, they both depended on each other to get through the war.
     Most importantly, Henry was a hero under Stephen Crane’s definition: he over came his fears about being in battle. Henry was not only in battle with the enemy, the south, but he was also battling himself about courage. Henry have always dreamt of the battles of war, and of what it would be like to fight in those glorious battles. But, when the regiment was wondering around aimlessly, he started to lose some of his ideals of war, and started to become scared of running away from a battle.
     This was the turning point for Henry. He started questioning himself and thought about running away. And he did. During his first battle, Henry became scared, confused, and goes into a state of mind where he saw his side losing. He got up and started to run like a "proverbial chicken", who had lost the direction of safety. While running, Henry analyzed himself. He thought of himself as a coward, running away, but he made himself feel better by thinking this is a way of saving himself for a later battle.
     While on the run, Henry came across a "tattered soldier" who had been wounded badly.

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He had been shot twice, yet he didn’t complain about his pain. Henry saw his wounds as “a red badge of courage” which was a visible proof of courageous behavior.The “tattered soldier” spoke proudly of the fact that his regiment did not flee and repeatedly asked Henry where he was wounded. It made Henry deeply uncomfortable, so Henry just walked away, feeling guilty.
     Henry found his regiment and was sent into more fighting. Henry carried their regiment’s flag. The regiment charged a group of enemy soldiers fortified behind a fence, and after a short battle, they succeed in winning the fence. They seized the enemy flag, and the regiment took four prisoners. As they marched back to their position, Henry reflected on his experiences in the war, and though he felt proud about his recent success in battle, he felt ashamed of his behavior the previous day, running away in battle and especially his abandonment of the tattered man. After a while, he was able to put his guilt behind him, and he realized that he has come through "the red sickness" of battle, he overcame his fears. He is now able to look forward to peace, and contentment in himself.
     In conclusion, Henry was a hero because he overcame his fears about death and war. He changed from being a coward, running away from his first battle, to a hero, who was courageous and held up their flag with proud at the end.


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