Dehumanization in the Red Badge of Courage Essay

2368 Words Feb 2nd, 2009 10 Pages
Dehumanization The novel The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane forcefully depicts an epic adventure though war where the men fight for their lives. These men are subject to a scene which scars and destroys the human consciousness. The result of the war and its bloody landscape causes men to lose basic human judgment and replaces it with mindless violence. All of the men are stripped of what makes them unique and are subject to a merciless war. It is clear as shown by Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage the men are dehumanized into a drone state forced upon them by war. Evidence of the dehumanizing effects of war is revealed even in the first chapter. Henry, a universal symbol of the everyman in the novel, questions his …show more content…
The captain of the youth's company had been killed in an early part of the action. His body lay stretched out in the position of a tired man resting, but upon his face there was an astonished and sorrowful look, as if he thought some friend had done him an ill turn. The babbling man was grazed by a shot that made the blood stream widely down his face. He clapped both hands to his head. “Oh!” he said, and ran. Another grunted suddenly as if a club had struck him in the stomach. He sat down and gazed ruefully. In his eyes there was mute, indefinite reproach. Farther up the line a man, standing behind a tree, had had his knee joint splintered by a ball. Immediately he had dropped his rifle and gripped the tree with both arms. And there he remained, clinging desperately and crying for assistance that he might withdraw his hold upon the tree. (Crane)
The entirety of this quote is a graphic representation of the lack of human compassion during war. The image of the man holding onto a tree is ironic in the fact that a tree, a symbol for life, is holding a man who is surely soon to die. Crane uses language which does not conceal the horror of the scene by gruesomely depicting the death of soldiers, then adding the imagery of a friend, when talking about the man with a sorrowful look. As he talks about the man with the blood streaming down his face, he mentions that he

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