THE END

The Red Badge of Courage Literary Critique



The Red Badge of Courage begins with the Youth (Henry) preparing to leave to war. He has fabulous ideas concocted in his mind about victory and heroism. The Youth soon finds that victory and heroism are a small part in the splendor of war. The Youth\'s mind soon becomes burdened with thoughts of death and running away from battle. Sure enough, in the midst of battle, the Youth flees the battlefield. The Youth must learn to deal with the shame he feels on deserting his comrades. When he returns to his camp he lies and says that he was separated during combat and was shot. The Youth is given another chance to fight and prove he is not a coward. As the book progresses, the Youth learns to deal with his shame by feeling honored for being a hero. In the end, the Youth becomes a man. He learns that the most important lessons in life can be seen by opening his eyes. I personally was attracted to the Youth. All his thoughts and wild imagination impressed me. He would describe death as a being that could swallow him whole, and ramble on about wonderful sunsets. The Youth was also a very troubled soul. He worried a lot over things he might do and not the things he would do. For instance, on page 34, he questions others in hope that their answers would comfort him. He feels disassociated from others, "The Youth, considering himself separated from the others..." (p29). Page 35 quotes, "He was a mental outcast." He lacked self confidence and "continually tried to measure himself by his comrades." (p22). Despite his sorrow, the Youth was creative and compared ideas and objects to other ideas and objects. "The battle was like the grinding of an immense and terrible machine." I believe that the Youth brought the book to life through his life. At times I would find myself thinking, "I\'ve thought that too!" For example on page 127, the Youth announces that his life should be lived to his expectations and not everyone else\'s. I strongly agree with him on that idea. When the Youth was involved in hard situations, I pondered on what I would do and what decisions I would make. To illustrate, on page 80, when the youth ran, I decided I would have stayed and fought for my dignity if nothing else. At the end of the book, Henry learns how important life truly is and why. He learned that war deals with death shame, and sorrow, not just victory and freedom. On page 266, Henry becomes a man. "He had been to touch the great death, and found, after all, it was but the great death." Henry looked death in the eyes and fulfilled his dream of becoming a hero. He had earned the Red Badge of Courage.


Henry, "the youth", was a young man who lived on a farm with his mother. He dreamed about what fighting in a war would be like, and dreamed of being a hero. He dreamed of the battles of war, and of what it would be like to fight in those glorious battles. His mother was a wise, caring woman who had strong convictions about not wanting Henry to goto war. She is a very hardworking woman, and loves her son a great deal. She gave him hundreds of reasons why he was needed on the farm and not in the war. Henry knew his mother would not want him to enlist, but it was his decision to make. He dreamed of the battles of war, and of what it would be like to fight in those glorious battles. He didn\'t want to stay on the farm with nothing to do, so he made his final decision to enlist. After enlisting he finds himself in a similar situation, with nothing to do. While there he becomes friends with two other soldiers, John Wilson, "the loud soldier / "the friend" and Jim Conklin, "the tall soldier". Wilson was a loud spoken and obnoxious soldier who becomes one of Henry\'s best friends. Jim was a tall soldier and was a childhood friend of Henry\'s. He was always