Main Ideas of the Red Badge of Courage

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The title of the book is The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, an American Writer from the late 17 centuries.

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Stephen Crane published The Red Badge of Courage in 1895.

The Red Badge of Courage took place during the Civil War; however, Crane never mentions an exact time or place. The controversy of the enslavement of African Americans was the main cause of the Civil War, so for Henry Fleming to be fighting for the North and be successful in battle, it made him realize his courageousness.

The theme of The Red Badge of Courage, is that courage does not represent how well or how strongly you do something, but is that you get done what needs to get done. Even if your scared or it seems impossible, your task gets done. In the beginning of the novel, Henry’s own definition of Courage, is that he believes courage correlates to masculinity and how heroic someone is. As the story progresses, Henry realizes that courage is completing the tasks given to you with dedication and willingness to serve.

Henry Fleming is the main character and is a teenager in America fighting for the Union Army. Henry doesn’t understand the idea of Courage, and has many encounters through the novel that makes him understand the real truth about war and death.

Henry’s Mother is only shown in Henry’s flashbacks, she is the reason that Henry comes across the ideas of how little his existence is, compares Henry’s ideas of war to the realities, and advises him not to join the war.

Wilson was Henry’s friend who went through some rough times during the war together. Wilson at first was very out there, loud, and wanted to be seen as a tough guy. As the story progresses, and he goes through some traumatic experiences with battle and his family, he becomes sympathetic.

Jim Conklin is a friend of Wilson and Henry that fights in the war with them. He is a quiet and down-to-earth man. In any situation he is put in, he always stays to himself and doesn’t let others emotions and opinions affect him.

The Tattered Soldier was put into the narrative to show a parallel to Henry’s feeling of guilt. Henry showed guilt because he ran away, instead of fighting, and is not living up to his mistakes.

The color red is shown throughout the narrative to give a sense of gruesomeness and a dark side to each reference, but mainly it’s symbolism is referring to courage and all the tough and hard things you have to get through to be courageous.

Jim Conklin is almost seen as a Christ figure, and his death parallels to Jesus Christ’s death, because Jim reclaims Henry’s sins and gives him a new chance. Crane puts him in the story to give Henry a second chance and help him become courageous.

Stephen Crane’s tone throughout the narrative is sarcastic and subjective, especially when he is describing Henry’s thoughts.

He, too, threw down his gun and fled. There was no shame in his face. He ran like a rabbit. This passage shows Henry making the decision to flee before battle. This decision gives Henry a start to become the better person and become courageous from this cowardly moment.

The central theme for The Red Badge of Courage is that courage is obtained when you go headstrong into something and complete what needs to be completed. When Henry goes into battle the second time, and goes in with all his might, it demonstrates his courageousness.

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Main Ideas Of The Red Badge of Courage. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved February 5, 2023 , from
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