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The Red Badge of Courage

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:07 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 75.8 
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The Red Badge of Courage, by Steven Crane, has been considered one of the

greatest war novels of all time. It is a story that realistically depicts the American Civil

War through the eyes of Henry Fleming, an ordinary farm boy who decides to become a

soldier. Henry is very determined to become a hero, and the story tells Henrys voyage

from being a young coward to becoming a brave man. This voyage is the classic trip from

innocence to experience.

To begin, the story starts out with a huge debate between the soldiers. One boy

had heard a rumor that the regiment would be moving on to fight a battle the next day.

Some of the soldiers agree with this boy.   Others think that their regiment will never go

into a real battle. While watching this argument, Henry, the protagonist, decides that he

would rather go lay down and think rather then take part in the heated argument between

the soldiers. Henry, a simple farm boy, is rather excited when he hears the rumor that they

will be fighting soon. It had always been a dream of his to fight in a war, and become a

hero.   Now his dream was coming true. Henry begins to think about what life was like

before he entered the army, and remembers some stories of war he has heard from old

veterans. This flashback is very effective in showing how his previous experiences have

affected his thoughts on war now. It is very clear that he is afraid that he will not be able

to withstand the pressures of a war. He keeps telling himself that if he wants to become a

hero and realizes he can not run away. He must stick out the battle with the rest of his

fellow soldiers. While marching along, Henry sees the first corpse he has ever seen. He



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