The Red Badge of Courage


In the novel The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, The boy Henry Flemming who is the one of the main character’s, is overcome by the glory he sees in war and the adrenaline of battle. But Henry does not know what really lies in the heart of war, only what the glorious stories tell within them.


Henry is a very un-fulfilled young man, he is always hoping for something that is un-likely to happen, and when the time of the event comes by he is astonished that he got something so different from what he had hopped for. A good example of Henry’s un-fulfilled characteristic is when he enlists for the army without his mothers consent, as stated “ ‘Ma I’ve enlisted’ he said to her diffidently. There was a short silence, ‘ The lords will be done’ she had finally replied, and then continued to brindle the cow…still she had disappointed him…he had privately primed himself for a beautiful scene”(Crane 4-5). Another example of how Henry is un-fulfilled is when Henry imagines war of being such a beautiful, glorious event in which you fight proudly for your country. But soon he realizes what war really is.


Henry is un-fulfilled as stated in the above paragraph thought that is not the only characteristic of Henry. Another characteristic is that Henry is confused in his plans of his future ahead. At first Henry had a plan of joining the war and then fighting like the man he is, then earn his badge. Soon he realizes what the meaning of war really means, as his friends slowly die he is left with only one thought, that is not an act of bravery, but an act of coward ness. As Henry makes a run for it and is hit on the head by another cowardly soldier like him-self, he tell the camp that he had faced hand to hand battle in the end. Henry then earns his badge, thought he does not earn his badge trufully, he earns it with guilt.