The Red Badge Of Courage Essay

The Red Badge Of Courage Essay

Length: 792 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

The Red Badge of Courage is not a war novel. It is a novel about life. This novel illustrates the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Stephen Crane uses the war as a comparison to everyday life. He is semi-saying that life is like a war. It is a struggle of warriors—the every day people—against the odds. In these battles of everyday life, people can change. In The Red Badge of Courage, the main character, Henry Fleming, undergoes a character change that shows how people must overcome their fears and the invisible barriers that hold them back from being the best people—warriors, in the sense that life is war—they can be. Henry has a character change that represents how all humans have general sense of fear of the unknown that must be overcome.
     In the first part of the novel, Henry is a youth that is very inexperienced. His motives were impure. He was a very selfish and self-serving character. He enters the war not for the basis of serving his country, but for the attainment of glory and prestige. Henry wants to be a hero. This represents the natural human characteristic of selfishness. Humans have a want and a need to satisfy themselves. This was Henry's main motive throughout the first part of the novel. On more than one occasion Henry is resolved to that natural selfishness of human beings. After Henry realizes that the attainment of glory and heroism has a price on it. That price is by wounds or worse yet, death. Henry then becomes self-serving in the fact that he wants to survive for himself, not the Union army. There is many a time when Henry wants to justify his natural fear of death. He is at a point where he is questioning deserting the battle; in order to justify this, he asks Jim, the tall soldier, if he would run. Jim declared that he'd thought about it. Surely, thought Henry, if his companion ran, it would be alright if he himself ran. During the battle, when Henry actually did take flight, he justified this selfish deed—selfish in the fact that it did not help his regiment hold the Rebs—by natural instinct. He proclaimed to himself that if a squirrel took flight when a rock was thrown at it, it was alright that he ran when his life was on the line.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Red Badge Of Courage Essay." 12 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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)

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)

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)

Henry Fleming and The red Badge of Courage Essay

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

Free Essays
862 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)

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]

Research Papers
838 words (2.4 pages)

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]

Research Papers
1594 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Use of Color in Crane's The Red Badge of Courage

- Use of Color in Crane's The Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage uses both color imagery and color symbols. While Crane uses color to describe, he also allows it to stand for whole concepts. Gray, for example, describes the both the literal image of a dead soldier and Henry Fleming's vision of the sleeping soldiers as corpses and comes to stand for the idea of death. In the same way, red describes both the soldiers' physical wounds and Fleming's mental visions of battle. In the process, it gains a symbolic meaning which Crane will put to an icon like the "red badge of courage" (110, Penguin ed., 1983)....   [tags: Crane The Red Badge of Courage]

Research Papers
1652 words (4.7 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]

Research Papers
1241 words (3.5 pages)

Related Searches

This was a selfish reason for fleeing, in the broad sense.
Henry's fear of death was a natural human fear that would not work in a war. This is where Henry's character change took place. In everyday life, humans often go about their natural business not thinking at about what they are doing. Henry, in a sense, represented this in his war efforts. Henry was so busy thinking about death and running and all these selfish ideas about the war that he could not operate as a good soldier. A good soldier is one that goes about fighting, killing, defending and even dying for the cause. These may not be great things, but they are what soldiers do. Henry was the epitome of not doing these soldier's tasks. In order for Henry to do his job the best, he had to become unthinking. This was a selfless act rather than a selfish act that would benefit the army, rather than hinder it. Once Henry got past his invisible barrier, his fear, he was able to become an unthinking war machine. This is similar to everyday life. For humans to do the best job possible, whatever it may be, they must not think. If they think too much about the task at hand, they will become preoccupied with it and fail. This was Henry's problem; he overcame his fear of death and became the war machine. As an unthinking machine, Henry selflessly sacrificed his consciousness and became an outstanding soldier. In turn, his instinct kicked in, and he was able to survive the predicament he was in.
The character change in The Red Badge of Courage illustrates the conflicting nature of human instinct. The instinct wishes to serve itself, but it cannot serve itself if it is preoccupied with itself, such as in Henry's case. Henry's predicament in The Red Badge of Courage shows how he had to overcome his self-serving fear of death in order to accomplish the very same thing, surviving death. This is basic human nature. Henry's ordeal is a small look at how humans need to overcome the fear of what they are doing in order to function at maximum capacity at what they are doing. The battle of life is won by compensating for one's weakness by challenging and defeating that weakness, as Henry Fleming did in The Red Badge of Courage.
Return to