Henry Fleming In The Red Badge Of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage describes the struggles of Henry Fleming, the protagonist who yearns to fight in the Civil War. Although he originally joined the military because of his romanticization of war, he feels anxious and worried about the coming battle. Henry is thrust into his first battle, and is overcome by terror. Upon seeing the enemy advance, he decides to run away. The is leads to the main conflict: whether Henry's choice to run from the battles was right or wrong. When he is walking away he spots retreating soldiers who had been injured in the fight. He is envious of what he calls their “red badge of courage.” Henry attempts to rationalize his decision by blaming it on his instincts, something he has little control over. Further …show more content…
He is a young boy who dreams about the glory and respect that comes from fighting battles. He is put into battled as an inexperienced soldier who knows little of what warfare really is. When it comes time for his regiment to fight he becomes overwhelmed and runs away. His cowardly actions and personality are a defining feature of Henry. He is a round and complex character, who progresses and becomes more brave towards the end of the story. The main conflict for Henry is about his lack of courage on the battlefield. It is internal, with Henry wanting to become an experienced and hardened soldier, but not finding the will to do so. “At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be peculiarly happy. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage (Crane 49).” When Henry was retreating he had the opportunity to see what true courage was, referring to the soldiers wound as the “red badge of courage.” He gets his own red badge, albeit a fake one, when he is hit in the head by a panicked, retreating soldier. He learns for his mistakes, and progresses from his problems to become a better and more courageous person. “With this conviction came a store of assurance. He felt a quiet manhood, nonassertive but sturdy and strong of blood. He knew that he would no more quail before his guides wherever they should point. He had been to touch the great death, and found that, after all, it was but the great death. He was a man (Crane 120).” Henry has finally become the person he envied so much. He marched with his regiment to victory and at the end of the fight, feels he has been bestowed with man

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