The Red Badge: Analysis of Major Characters

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The Red Badge: Analysis of Major Characters

Post by Rachid Amri on Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:13 pm

Analysis of Major Characters
Henry Fleming
Throughout the novel, Crane refers to Henry as “the young soldier” and “the youth.” Both the best and worst characteristics of Henry’s youth mark him. Unlike the veteran soldiers whom he encounters during his first battle, Henry is not jaded. He believes, albeit naïvely, in traditional models of courage and honor, and romanticizes the image of dying in battle by invoking the Greek tradition of a dead soldier being laid upon his shield. On the other hand, because he is young, Henry has yet to experience enough to test these abstractions. As a result, his most passionate convictions are based on little else than fantasies, making him seem vain and self-centered.
Henry’s reasons for wanting to win glory in battle are far from noble. The philosophical underpinnings of the war do not motivate him; neither does any deeply held, personal sense of right and wrong. Instead, Henry desires a reputation. He hopes that an impressive performance on the battlefield will immortalize him as a hero among men who, because of the domesticating effects of religion and education, rarely distinguish themselves so dramatically. Ironically, after fleeing from battle, Henry feels little guilt about invoking his own intelligence in order to justify his cowardice. He condemns the soldiers who stayed to fight as imbeciles who were not “wise enough to save themselves from the flurry of death.” This is how he restores his fragile self-pride. When Henry returns to camp and lies about the nature of his wound, he doubts neither his manhood nor his right to behave as pompously as a veteran. Henry’s lack of a true moral sense manifests itself in the emptiness of the honor and glory that he seeks. He feels no responsibility to earn these accolades. If others call him a hero, he believes he is one.
When Henry finally faces battle, however, he feels a “temporary but sublime absence of selfishness.” A great change occurs within him: as he fights, he loses his sense of self. No longer is he interested in winning the praise and attention of other men; instead, he allows himself to disappear into the commotion and become one component of a great fighting machine. As Henry finds himself deeply immersed in battle, the importance of winning a name for himself fades with the gun smoke, for “it was difficult to think of reputation when others were thinking of skins.” It is ironic, then, that Henry establishes his reputation at these very moments. Officers who witness his fierce fighting regard him as one of the regiment’s best. Henry does not cheat his way to the honor that he so desperately craves when the novel opens; instead, he earns it. This marks a tremendous growth in Henry’s character. He learns to reflect on his mistakes, such as his earlier retreat, without defensiveness or bravado, and abandons the hope of blustery heroism for a quieter, but more satisfying, understanding of what it means to be a man.
Jim Conklin
Jim contrasts sharply with Henry in the opening pages of the novel. When Henry asks Jim if he would flee from battle, Jim’s answer—that he would run if other soldiers ran, fight if they fought—establishes him as a pragmatist. He is strong and self-reliant, and does not romanticize war or its supposed glories in the manner that Henry does. Unlike Wilson, whose loud complaints characterize his early appearances, Jim marches through his days efficiently and with few grievances. He informs Henry that he can unburden himself of his unnecessary munitions, declaring, “You can now eat and shoot . . . That’s all you want to do.”
Jim has little patience for the kind of loud, knee-jerk criticism or vague abstraction that distracts Wilson and Henry. He prefers to do what duty requires of him and finds a quiet, simple pleasure in doing so. He silences Wilson and Henry from discussing the qualifications of their commanding officers while they are eating because he “could not rage in fierce argument in the presence of such sandwiches.”
Jim’s quiet demeanor persists even as he dies. He does not indulge in a protracted death scene, curse his fate, or philosophize about the cruelties and injustices of war. Instead, he brushes Henry and his offers of comfort aside. He seeks to die alone, and those present notice “a curious and profound dignity in the firm lines of his awful face.” The solemn poise with which Jim dies puzzles Henry, who wants to rail loudly at the universe. In death, as in life, Jim possesses the rare, self-assured goodness of a man who knows and fulfills his responsibilities.
Wilson
Whereas Jim Conklin’s character remains notably steady throughout the novel, Wilson undergoes a dramatic change. Wilson is initially loud, opinionated, and naïve. For the first half of the book, Crane refers to him almost exclusively as “the loud soldier.” Wilson indignantly assures Henry that if battle occurs, he will certainly fight in it: “I said I was going to do my share of the fighting—that’s what I said. And I am, too. Who are you anyhow? You talk as if you thought you was Napoleon Bonaparte.” Shortly thereafter, he approaches Henry again. Certain that he is about to meet his doom, he gives the youth a yellow envelope to deliver to his family should he die in battle. This erratic shift from obnoxious bravado to naked vulnerability demonstrates Wilson’s immaturity. Like Henry, he is initially little more than a youth trying desperately to assure himself of his manhood.
Wilson’s transformation becomes clear relatively quickly. After disappearing into battle, he resurfaces to take care of Henry with all of the bustling of an “amateur nurse” upon Henry’s return to camp. He further displays his generosity by insisting that Henry take his blanket. Upon waking the next day, Henry notes the change in his friend: “He was no more a loud young soldier. There was now about him a fine reliance. He showed a quiet belief in his purpose and his abilities.”
Wilson’s attitude toward the envelope which he earlier entrusted to Henry further demonstrates the maturation that he has undergone. Though ashamed of his earlier display of fear, he asks Henry for the envelope back—he is no longer interested in his reputation or in the amount of sheer bravery that his comrades associate with his name, two issues that ponderously plague Henry. Instead, Wilson seems to have “climbed a peak of wisdom from which he could perceive himself as a very wee thing.”
This transformation furthers one of the novel’s explorations, showing plainly what happens when one realizes the relative insignificance of his or her life—an awareness that Henry seems to have gained by the novel’s end. Furthermore, the development of Wilson’s character contributes to the noise/silence motif. Through the sounds of battle, endless gossip, and empty bragging of the soldiers, noise comes to be associated with youth, vanity, and struggle. Toward the end of the novel, these sounds give way to a peace and quiet that suggest the eventuality of the progression past youthful struggle to the more reflective musings of manhood.


Last edited by Rachid Amri on Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Red Badge: Analysis of Major Characters

Post by Iibtihel on Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:36 pm

Minor Characters

Bill Smithers: A soldier who falls during the first march out of camp and gets his fingers stepped on while trying to retrieve his rifle. He goes to the hospital and is mentioned throughout the novel by members of his regiment.

The Youth's Company's lieutenant (Hasbrouck): The youth's immediate commanding officer. He is shot through the hand during the first day of battle, but stays on to lead his men. He is later shot in the arm, during the second day's charge.

The 'Tattered Soldier': A wounded man who tries to befriend Henry as he marches with the line of wounded men to the rear. The Tattered Soldier follows him and with him watches Jim Conklin (the Tall Soldier) die from an earlier gunshot to the side. He repeatedly asks Henry where he is shot, but this makes Henry angry and ashamed since he has not yet been wounded. Henry leaves the man wandering aimlessly to die alone, a fact that later haunts Henry.

The 'Man with the Cheery Voice': A Union soldier who befriends and helps Henry back to his regiment after the first day's battle. Henry never sees the man's face.

Corporal Simpson: The officer in Henry's regiment who takes care of Henry's head wound after the first day of fighting. Henry claims that he has been shot, even though he was actually hit in the head with the butt of a rifle by another Union soldier.

Jimmie Rogers: A soldier in Henry's regiment who is shot through the body in the forest on the second day of battle.

Colonel MacChesnay: A colonel in Henry's regiment, who leads the second day's charge and is afterward reproached by the high-ranking officer who called the regiment a lot of mule drivers
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Re: The Red Badge: Analysis of Major Characters

Post by rahma beji on Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:01 pm

Setting
The action takes place in the spring of 1863 in the northern Virginia countryside near the Rappahannock River. Historically, that locale is where Union forces under General Joseph Hooker fought Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee in the Battle of Chancellorsville. Author Crane never mentions Hooker, Lee, Chancellorsville, or even the U.S. Civil War. But it is clear from his descriptions–and from a specific mention of the Rappahannock River–that he is writing about the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Characters
Henry Fleming New York state farm boy who enlists in the Union Army in the belief that war is a glorious adventure. His first taste of military living, with its constant drills and the monotony of camp life, disillusions him. Moreover, the prospect of actually being shot at, and possibly dying, unnerves him. Consequently, he runs away during his first encounter with the enemy. Later, a fleeing Union soldier holding his rifle high accidentally runs into Henry. The rifle opens a gash in Henry’s head. With his “red badge of courage”–the head injury–Henry has a war wound to show his comrades and becomes a changed young man.
The Tall Man, Jim Conklin Soldier who befriends Fleming. Conklin suffers fatal wounds during the battle that Henry ran from and thus pricks Henry’s conscience.
The Loud Man, Wilson Braggart who is really cowered by the prospect of war. After his first battle, he transforms into a different man: quiet, kind, brave. He becomes Henry Fleming's fiend and captures the enemy flag while Henry fights at his side.
The Tattered Man Soldier who mistakes young Fleming for a wounded soldier and dogs Fleming with questions about the location of his wound.
The Lieutenant Officer who harasses Henry at first, even beating him with a sword, in order to turn him into a soldier. Later, he praises Henry for his battlefield exploits.
The Colonel Commanding officer of Henry’s regiment.
The General Officer who upbraids Henry's regiment for stopping short of victory during a battle.
Henry's Mother She opposes Henry's enlistment but accepts his decision to volunteer. Before he leaves home, she advises him on what to do if he has a notion to run from the enemy.
Climax
The climax of a play or another narrative work, such as a short story or a novel, can be defined as (1) the turning point at which the conflict begins to resolve itself for better or worse, or as (2) the final and most exciting event in a series of events. According to the first definition, the climax of The Red Badge of Courage occurs when a fleeing Union soldiers accidentally strikes Henry Fleming in the head with his rifle, inflicting a gash that Henry allows his regimental companions to believe is a war wound. According to the second definition, the climax occurs when Henry’s regiment chases the enemy off the field and captures their flag.
Type of Work and Publication Dates
The Red Badge of Courage is a short novel focusing on the character development of young soldier after he enlists in the Union Army in 1863, during the American Civil War. The novel presents a realistic portrait of the youth and the battle in which he fights. The novel was published in abridged form in 1894 by a newspaper syndicate and in book form in 1895.
Study Questions and Essay Topics
1. Before enlisting, Henry Fleming sees war as a glorious pursuit. After undergoing training and experiencing combat, he sees war for what it is: brutal, harrowing, uncivilized. Is there any segment of American society today that still views war as thrilling, exciting, and glorious? How do most modern American films and television programs depict war?
2. What other events in life–or what activities and careers–are erroneously depicted as glorious?
3. Many soldiers in the Civil War enlisted for reasons other than glory. Write an essay that identifies these reasons. In your research, consider the issues of slavery and economic rivalry between the North and the South, as well as any other issues that your research turns up.
4. Although Stephen Crane does not mention a specific Civil War battle as the one in which Fleming encounters the enemy, the year and the locale suggest that it is the Battle of Chancellorsville. In an essay compare and contrast Crane's description of the battle with eyewitness accounts written by soldiers on both sides, with accounts of newspaper reporters covering the battle, and with accounts of historians or other researchers who have studied the battle.
5. What did the typical battlefield soldier eat? What kind of treatment did he receive when he developed a serious illness? Did he receive letters from home? What did he do during his idle time?
Themes
Theme 1 A naive youth matures into a young adult in the crucible of war. This is a frequently occurring literary motif in which authors expose an innocent or inexperienced character to harsh or jaded reality. This reality may appear on a battlefield, as in The Red Badge of Courage; in a home, as in Ibsen's A Doll's House; or in provincial a capital, as in Flaubert's Madame Bovary. In fact, it may appear in any setting–a school, a ship, a slum, an island, a prison, and so on.
Theme 2 It is better generally to face fears than run from them. Henry Fleming, a callow Civil War volunteer, runs from the battlefield rather than risk his life only to discover that he cannot escape from his anxieties. Wherever he goes, he worries that someone will finger him as a coward. Later, he redeems himself by facing his fears.
Theme 3 War is not glorious, as Fleming believed before he enlisted. Instead, it is brutal and merciless, like a crazed monster, killing and maiming at random.
Theme 4 Nature–the sun, the moon, the stars, the entire universe–carries on with its business regardless of what happens to man. Like a great unfeeling machine, it functions in its usual way without heed to humans in peril. Man cannot manipulate it; he cannot control it in any way. Man’s impotence against nature makes it seem to him as if he also has no control over his own destiny.
Naturalism and Fate
The idea that a human being is at the mercy of fate or a pitiless universe had fascinated writers of Crane's time, in particular the French novelists Émile Zola (1840-1902) and Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907), as well as the German playwright, poet, and novelist Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946). They pioneered a literary movement known as naturalism. However, although these naturalists often receive credit for originating as a literary motif the concept of a cruel universe that determines man’s fate, writers centuries before had explored the idea. In the Old Testament of the Bible, Job suffers numerous reverses–including the loss of his material possessions, his sons, and his health–even though he is a righteous man. In Greek tragedy–in particular in the plays of Sophocles, such as Oedipus Rex–fate plays an extremely important role as an inexorable force. William Shakespeare explored this idea in the early 1600's with unsurpassed insight in his play King Lear, in which Gloucester says in Act IV, Scene I, "As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. / They kill us for their sport" (Lines 38-39). Many other writers before and after Crane also focused on naturalist themes. Among American writers who did so, besides Crane, were Frank Norris, Hamlin Garland, Jack London, Theodore Dreiser, and James T. Farrell.
Impressionistic Format
Author Crane tells the story in third-person point of view, presenting the impressions of a young Union volunteer during his preparation for war and during his first experiences in combat. The dialogue is written in the homely vernacular of common folk. Rather than focusing on the objective reality of the Union and Confederate clash in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Crane dwells on the subjective reality of a young soldier’s reactions to the scenes around him. Through the soldier’s eyes, Crane sees and paints a word picture of war; it is an interpretation rather than a historical account, an impressionistic portrait rather than a photograph.
Nameless Soldiers
Cran he e frequently depicts combatants in an army as a synergistic whole–a single lump of humanity–rather than as individuals with names and personalities. Consequently, he often presents charging soldiers as a single entity, such as a monster. When does focus on one soldier, he often abstracts him into an impressionistic image. Thus, Jim Conklin becomes the “tall soldier; Wilson, the “loud soldier”; and Fleming “the youth.” There are countless nameless men, including “the lieutenant,” “the colonel,” and “the tattered soldier,” each part of the Union army’s anatomy rather than separate beings with separate personalities.
Critical Reception
When the novel appeared in book form, it received high critical acclaim in England before American critics–taking a cue from their English counterparts–embraced the book. Among its strong points, critics opined, were its psychological penetration of the main character and its realistic portrayal of war.
Major Stylistic Flaw: Overblown and Vague Descriptions
Although Crane’s descriptions of soldiers and the battles they fight contain realistic detail, too often he lards these descriptions with unnecessary, inappropriate, imprecise, or prosaic language. In Chapter 19, for example, Crane tells us that a friend of Henry Fleming was “lurching suddenly forward.” There is no other way to lurch except suddenly. The word is implicit in the meaning of lurch and therefore unnecessary. Crane has that same friend fire an ”angry shot” at “persistent woods.” One wonders whether the man also fires calm shots. And what are persistent woods? In a Crane novel, characters do not merely stare; rather they stare “with blank and yokel-like eyes.” A regiment does not merely plod onward; instead, “the regiment, involved like a cart involved in mud and muddle, [moves] unevenly with many jolts and jerks”–or, on another day, “[goes] painfully forward.” In The Red Badge, a lieutenant has lips that are “habitually in a soft and childlike curve” even though lips come in twos and cannot form a single curve. We are told that the lieutenant does not fear “the vindictive threats of bullets” (possibly because he, like the reader, has no idea of what a “vindictive threat” is). That same lieutenant does not swear; rather, he “bellows profanely” with lips “writhed into unholy contortions.” In response to the lieutenant’s “blue haze of curses,” Henry Fleming’s mouth becomes “puckered in doubt and awe.” Why do curses come in hazes–blue hazes? The lieutenant, Crane says in an attack of as if’s, “grappled with [Fleming] as if for a wrestling bout. It was as if he planned to drag the youth by the ear on to the assault” (boldface emphasis added to the original text). All of these examples of Crane’s writing come from a seven-paragraph passage in Chapter 19.

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Re: The Red Badge: Analysis of Major Characters

Post by rahma beji on Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:25 pm

KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The novel is set during the United States Civil War, sometime between 1850 and 1865, when the 304th regiment of New York is out on a military campaign. The majority of the setting takes place on or near a battlefield.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Major Character
Henry Fleming
The Youth. He is a young man who joins the Civil War and dreams of greatness as a soldier. During the war, he experiences great anguish and grows from his experiences.
Minor Characters
Jim Conklin
The Tall Soldier who announces the first rumor of battle. He is later mortally wounded and dies as the Youth tries to help him.
Young Lieutenant
A man with an infantile face who leads the 304th regiment.
Wilson
A soldier who helps Henry when he returns injured. Early in the novel he is referred to as the Loud Soldier and later in the novel as the Friend of the Youth.
Bill Smithers
A soldier whose hand is trod on early in the war.
Tattered Man
A wounded soldier who asks Henry about his injury and warns him to get Conklin out of the way before the artillery battery arrives.
Ma
Henry's Mother. She is sad to see her son go off to war. Although uneducated, she is wise enough to realize that war is not like her son believes it to be.
The Veterans
The experienced soldiers who have many tales about their experiences in battle.
The Recruits
The young soldiers who are new to the military. They typically move around frequently, complain a lot, and do not understand the war.
The Officers
Soldiers of various rank who are usually not effective leaders. They get their men to follow orders by screams and threats.

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Character Profiles

Post by eyat allah dammak on Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:39 pm

Jim Conklin: Jim Conklin is a friend of Henry’s. They have known each other since childhood, and are both privates in the Union army. Jim is a good soldier, accepting whatever circumstances come his way. He is badly wounded in the first battle. Henry encounters him by chance as he joins the procession of wounded men after his own act of cowardice. Jim dies of his injuries soon after this, and Henry witnesses his death. Jim is a contrast to Henry and a reproach to him: in battle, Jim stood his ground, fought and died for his courage, whereas Henry ran away at the first sign of danger.

Henry Fleming: Henry Fleming is the protagonist of the novel. He is an untested young man who leaves his mother’s farm in order to enlist in the Union army. He has grand, romantic ideas about the glory of war, but he soon finds out that the real thing is very different from what he imagined it to be. During his period of military service, Henry learns a great deal about himself. Before the first battle, he is unsure of how he will react to it. He is concerned that he may run away. Sure enough, as soon as the bullets begin to fly, this is exactly what happens. Henry is filled with guilt and shame about his cowardice, but he makes his way back to his regiment and later distinguishes himself in battle, showing outstanding bravery and leadership. His lieutenant and his general recognize Henry’s contribution and offer him great praise. By the end of the novel, Henry has attained maturity. He is confident that he has proved his worth as a man. Even though for a time he was caught up in the savage joy of battle, on reflection he realizes that he has no love of war.

The Lieutenant: The lieutenant is Henry’s immediate commander in the battle. He swears and curses as he tries to motivate and cajole the men (“he could string oaths with the facility of a maiden who strings beads,” ch. 19 p. 121). Before the first battle, as the men are marching, he beats Henry with his sword and tells him to hurry up. Henry despises the lieutenant’s crude manner. But after Henry proves himself in battle, the lieutenant gives him high praise. After this, whenever the lieutenant has some profound thoughts about the science of war, he unconsciously addresses them to Henry. In the final battle, the lieutenant and Henry join together in urging the men on. They feel a sense of fellowship and equality.

The Tattered Soldier: The tattered soldier is a soldier Henry encounters in the procession of wounded men. He has been wounded in the head and arm. He is friendly to Henry, but when he asks where Henry is wounded, Henry runs off, in spite of the soldier’s desire for him to stay. Like Jim Conklin, the tattered soldier serves to prick Henry’s guilty conscience, reminding him that the wounded men had showed a courage that he lacked. Henry last sees the tattered soldier wandering helplessly in a field.

Wilson: Wilson is a loud private, and Henry's friend in the regiment. Early in the novel he is belligerent and always ready for a quarrel. He is young but he swears like an old soldier, and he has no doubts at all that he will perform well in battle. In the early part of the novel, he serves as a contrast to Henry, who doubts himself in a way that Wilson never could. When Henry returns to his regiment after deserting, Wilson greets him with great warmth, and looks after him selflessly. He is generous, and the experience of battle seems to have matured him. Instead of instigating quarrels, he now acts as a peacemaker between the men. In the battles that follow, Wilson and Henry are comrades-in-arms, and Wilson matches Henry for valor. Indeed, it is Wilson rather than Henry who succeeds, in the final charge, in capturing the enemy flag.
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Climax and epiphany

Post by Fatma Said-Kaabia on Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:36 pm

Kairouan, April 9th, 2008
First year fiction
The Red Badge of Courage
Tutorial 2 and 3


Tutorial 2

Objective: Climax and epiphany

Climax: part of a story when crisis is reached
Epiphany: sudden spiritual manifestation, a revelation

The climax resides in the internal conflict that agitates Young Henry: he is torn between his romantic ambitions of being a noble warrior and his inner weakness (hamartia) that pushes him to flee the battle. The climax reaches its peak when he actually flees the battle in chapter 6 (study of the main paragraphs that hold the emotional suffering, the hesitation of the moment and all the reflections that follow the act trying to legitimate it). Focus will be laid on key terms referring to that internal conflict.
Epiphany starts when he first meets with the soldier’s corpse (chapter 7) and goes on until he accumulates a whole range of experiences (the death of Jim Conklin, the vexing questions of the tattered man and the coward and cruel decision of leaving him to die alone). These episodes lead him to a revelation, a sudden spiritual manifestation caused by the shock of seeing the awfully degraded corpses, etc. Such a sight provokes a series of reflections and meditations in Henry’s thoughts. It made Young Henry aware of his lack of courage and of his longing to possess a red badge of courage. It also made him aware of a new reality: the insignificance/triviality of human existence and thus starts convincing him (upon a second thought) of joining back his regiment.
Climax then starts more precisely in chapter 6 and continues until chapter 11 when Young Henry starts deep thinking of rejoining the regiment. Resolution starts in chapter 12 when he gets wounded, that marks the way towards the denouement.

Tutorial 3:
In a three-paragraph essay try to explain how the climax is portrayed in The Red Badge of Courage.

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exposé about symbolism naturalism and realism

Post by latifachortani on Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:39 pm

In Stephen Crane's literary marvel, The Red Badge of Courage, it is widely known that there are many areas of religious influence throughout the book. References to the sun as a wafer refer to the Holy Eucharist common to liturgical ceremonies.
Stephen Crane uses the sun to emphasize the fear and triumph that the « youth » and his regiment feel. In the eastern sky there was a yellow patch like a rug laid for the feet of the coming sun(pg.25). This represents the fear of the battle that Henry and the other soldiers felt as they could see the enemy coming towards them. The yellow path in front of the sun symbolizes the cowardice that Henry felt as the battle neared. The path of the sun could also represent the enemy coming up the path towards Henry, which is what cause his fear. As the enemy got closer, Henry began to feel more relaxed, but at the same time more afraid of the battle. When the sunrays vanished at last struck full and mellowingly upon the earth, the youth saw that the landscape was streaked with two long, thin, black columns which disappeared on the brow of a hill in front and rearward vanished in a wood.
In The Red Badge of Courage Henry Fleming, the main character who is characterized as a shy and timid boy in the beginning of the story, grows up in a small town and When Henry develops the motivation to free himself from his nurturing mother and finally become a man, he decides to fight in battle. Henry enlists in the 304th Regiment of New York Volunteers. However, after Henry joins the regiment he finds that his emotions are all mixed up and his motivation to become a man softens to a mere whisper. Henry wonders how he will act when confronted with enemy fire. So symbolism is used to show Henry’s feeling of fear, humility, and courage during the whole novel.
The Red Badge of Courage is laden with symbols and images. After Henry joins the army he has some doubts about how he will perform while in battle. Henry is afraid that once he sees the enemy he will run. In the beginning of The Red Badge of Courage Wilson symbolizes fear. Wilson is known as the loud soldier in the novel. At first Wilson tells Henry that he will fight well and not run away. Henry then asks him how he knows that he won’t run from the battle. Wilson laughs and then leaves because he is mad at Henry for asking that question. However Wilson is also afraid.
This civil War novel by Stephen Crane , may be examined on various levels. One of those levels is a story about the cruelty and disasters of war. Young Henry Flemming , the protagonist, has dreamed his whole life of being in the army and despite his mother's discouragement, he enlists with a Union regiment. Soon learning that the army is a big bore, Henry begins to view himself "merely as a part of a vast blue demonstration". Clearly, Henry does not know why he is going to fight , he just knows that he is part of a large group of men.
As the novel unfolds, it is plain that Crane is writing about the horrors and tragedies of war, even by using the idea of contrasting the events of the war with nature. Although many critics have viewed the book as a naturalistic or realistic novel, some specific examples can describe how it relates to the anti-war theme.
One of the ironic events of the story is when Henry as he is on guard duty one evening, he converses across the river with a Confederate soldier. "The youth liked him personally," says Crane. Henry's feeling towards his enemy shows that he is unclear about the war's purpose. At this point Henry probably would like to flee home. Henry is seeing the enemy as real and human so the youth is caught in a dilemma because he likes the enemy whom he is suppose to fight without knowing the real cause of this silly war or what is going to be its side effects on him, on his friends and on the enemy as well.
Henry Fleming had no idea how horrible war really was. Attacks come from all sides, bullets fly, bombs crash. Men everywhere are wounded, bleeding, and dying. Now, Henry's fighting for his life and he's scared. He must make a decision, perhaps the most difficult decision he will ever make in his life: save himself-run from the enemy and desert his friends-or fight, be brave, and risk his life. If he stays to fight, he may die with his regiment. If he runs, he'll have to live with knowing he was a coward.
The Red Badge of Courage was a significant novel in the way that the characters were portrayed. Crane hardly ever used the actual names of the soldiers. He simply described them as the loud soldier, the tall soldier, the cheery soldier, and the tattered soldier. Crane made the characters stand out in the use of describing them and promoting their relationship with Henry and his struggle during the battles. Crane did a fantastic job with relating the different characters with different roles that Henry was involved in. The loud soldier, tall soldier, cheery soldier, and tattered soldier all have a significant part in creating the novel. The characters in the book are there to serve Henry by prompting him to action or reflection or by being a comparison or contrast to him.
Color is brought into play early in the novel, as crane describes the battle field at sun rise: "As the landscape changed from brown to green, the army awakened, and began to tremble with eagerness at the noise of rumors" (pg43).
Color also is used in a wide variety of instances. The author utilizes color through imagery and symbolism in order to represent concepts and to impact the reader on a more personal basis. Gray is used in this way to describe death, in doing so the color is portrayed on both a symbolic and literal field. Gray is used literally to describe the dead soldiers on the battle field while it is used symbolically as the specter of death; this idea is introduced when Henry has visions of the dead while over looking the soldiers who lay sleeping, also more subtlety as the color of the uniforms of those who stand against him, who are the cause of the conflict. A more dominate color symbol is the color red, which is used to symbolize bravery, blood, wounds, and battle. Through out the book red is used consistently in these ways and becomes a strong repeating motif. In this way Crane uses colors to describe the physical and mental episodes in The Red Badge of Courage.

Through this use of color Crane is able to keep all the soldiers and battles anonymous because he can associate emotion with different shades which are assigned to each confrontation, red is used as an indicator of valor, which is also closely associated to battle, this helps to better connect the enemy soldiers with bloodshed. In his description of all things in the book such as the battle field, or the soldiers, Crane uses a mix of color to give the reader an idea of how to feel and to describe the emotions that Henry feels
Through out the novel Crane uses color on a literal and symbolical plane in order to give each event and person a feeling to which the reader can relate them to. Crane contrasts red and gray in order to assign a feeling to every battle and person, in this he is able to maintain anonymity for each thing while giving it a personal feel for the reader.
Color is again used when describing the enemy soldiers, who do not sport the same child like qualities that Henry�s battalion does. Green is used once more to describe the youth and innocence of the soldiers; this is in turn contrasted with red which is used to create images of battle and war.
Symbolism
Critics acknowledge Crane as an exceptional artist, with superb skills in imagery, metaphor, similes, and irony. He has even been referred to as a Symbolist in the tradition of the French poet Mallarme and the American author Edgar Allen Poe. The red badge — a soldier's wound — is the most obvious symbol in the book and the source of its greatest irony. While it is meant to be a sign of honor and courage, gained from true action in war, Henry's red badge was given to him by accident by one of his own army and clearly not from brave battle. Henry lies about this and creates a pretense to his men that is accepted. Crane also used many nature symbols. For example, the images of flowers in bloom represent the transient, temporary nature of life. A metaphor (a figure of speech in which an object represents something else quite distinct from it) often cited by critics is the wafer-sun. Henry sees this upon his awareness of the reality of death, and it represents the communion wafer in an ecclesiastical service. It also suggests a flat, artificial "sun," glued onto a flat, imitation sky, thus diminishing Nature, eliminating Heaven, and enlarging the youth as the only observer.
Animal Imagery
Crane's novel abounds in animal imagery. The campfires of the enemy are red eyes shining in the dark, like those of predatory animals. When the battle begins, Henry fights like a "pestered animal worried by dogs," and on the third day he plunges like "a mad horse" at the Confederate flag. Crane writes that the soldiers fight like "wild cats." Further, the regiments resemble black, serpentlike columns of regiments entering the cover of night (this imagery is known as a simile, i.e, the writer's representation of unlike objects through use of "like" or "as" comparisons). The use of animal imagery helps convey the deterministic point of view of the literary naturalist, that men are caught like animals in a world they cannot control. In the chapters where Henry runs away in fear, he does so like a creature seeking his own self-preservation. He throws a pine cone at a squirrel, which runs frightened up a tree. The squirrel "did not stand stolidly baring his furry belly to the missile. On the contrary, he had fled as fast as his legs could carry him." Henry feels freed since "Nature had given him a sign."
Irony
Much has been written about the novel's irony, a literary technique that demonstrates a discrepancy between the appearance and reality of a situation. Crane presents different perspectives of a situation so that the reader must put together what is really true. The book's title is the supreme irony since Henry receives his wound from a crazed soldier who hits the boy on the head with a rifle butt after Henry has fled from a skirmish. The battle is also ironic, for after Henry's great display of bravery on the third day of battle, the army retreats and all the ground won at great cost is given up. Crane makes the sacrifices of war seem futile and the suffering not worth the cost. The moral, however, is implicit, for at the end of the novel, Henry feels a sense of pride as a full-fledged man. Some critics dispute the fact that there is a moral sense at all in this book. In any case, there is a sense that Henry has undergone some transformation
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Re: The Red Badge: Analysis of Major Characters

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