The Red Badge of Courage
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The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage may be one of the greatest historical novels ever written. This novel by the great Stephen Crane depicts the life of a boy in the American Civil War.

In the Red Badge of Courage, written by historical author Stephen Crane, he tells a story of a young soldier fighting in America’s Civil War and the feelings a soldier experiences in fighting in battle. The youth, named Henry, and his regiment are bored of not fighting. They are all men who want to fire their gun at the enemy and kill someone. They wait for a long time, until their leader yells at them with urgency that they must move. They march on for a long time, not experiencing any battles at all. They grew tired as well. “The men had begun to count the miles on their fingers, and they grew tired.” But the day comes when Henry and his regiment watch as other soldiers fire their rifles towards the enemy. Henry’s regiment finally gets their chance. Henry is terrified, but as he begins to fire it all changes. He begins to get into a rhythm and fires “like a machine” to force the enemy to retreat. The regiment feels proud of themselves and they go back into camp happily. When the next day comes, the regiment is surprised when they are needed again to fend off the charge once again. This time, the regiment isn’t so confident. They are afraid because the enemy must have a lot of courage to come back and fight again. This time Henry doesn’t feel the same. He can’t get into the rhythm again. Henry gets scared and runs to retreat. Upon retreating he hears a general saying the enemy was forced back. This means his companions defended the enemy while Henry ran. Henry didn’t go back to the regiment. Instead he headed towards the woods. Henry eventually finds his way into a group of wounded soldiers walking their way back to camp. He encounters a friend, the tall soldier, who is badly wounded. He also runs into the tattered soldier who is wounded. Henry wishes he could give these men a red badge of courage to represent their strength. His two friends die of their wounds and Henry feels terrible. Henry finds his way back to his regular regiment. He meets with the loud soldier but he has changed. The battles have changed the loud soldier into a quiet confident one. Henry fights with a fearless rage from now on. He believed because he ran away from the army the first time, he owes them his life. He will never stop fighting until he is dead. He wants a wound, to prove he has the courage and the lack of fear to be matured and fight against men. The ending of the book is one of the final battles where Henry’s regiment charges upon the last of the enemy. Carrying the flag of his army, Henry is noted as one of the best soldier in the entire army. The loud soldier, named Wilson, grabs the enemy flag from a fallen soldier to symbolize that they have won. They were victorious not because they were the most skilled soldiers, but because they had the courage to keep fighting even when the going went tough. Henry became a changed man. He was young and immature from the first few battles. By the end of the book, when he started to notice he was fighting with courage, he had become a mature soldier.

Stephen Crane is noted as one of the best historical writers ever to be born. His historical knowledge helps him to write this book with ease making ever part correct. The Red Badge of Courage is a fictional book that tells the life of a soldier during the American Civil War. The book is organized into chapters in chronological order. It is like any other fictional book by telling the story in order of time. Crane does an amazing job in descriptions of the battles and of the men in the battles. He is talking about how a sergeant is shot in the cheek by describing it as “his jaw hung afar down, disclosing in the wide cavern of his mouth a pulsing mass of blood and teeth.” Crane does an interesting thing while narrating the story. He never tells the character’s real names. Their names are revealed in dialogue but never said by the narrator. For example, Henry is referred as the youth throughout the entire story. Also, Wilson is known as the loud soldier. The strange thing is, Crane never even says who Henry, Wilson, and the regiment are fighting for, He calls them the blue army verses the gray army. Of course we all know the blue is the Union and the gray is the Confederacy, but Crane never reveals that. This keeps the reader very intrigued in who is winning the battles. The book has no pictures but the front cover painting of the Civil War. Since it is a fiction book, there are no source notes in the book. But, I would expect Crane did diligent research to find out how the battles were fought and what the soldiers did and wore during the war. Crane doesn’t present a clear thesis, but as the reader you understand where he is getting at. He wants the reader to know that courage is the best form of fighting. With courage, you will do your best in every situation. The books purpose is to tell a reader what Civil War experiences were to a soldier. Crane seems to be putting an argument that the Civil War was a terrible time of fighting.

Stephen Crane is known as one of the greatest historical authors in the history of the Unites States. His writings are mostly of the Civil War. The Red Badge of Courage may be his most famous book since it describes the American Civil War to perfection on how the battles were fought and what the soldiers were like. Stephen Crane only lived to be twenty-eight years old. He died of tuberculosis and is remembered as writing one of the greatest American classics. Crane has written five novels and three poem collections in his writing career. He is an authority on the subject because most of his writings deal with the Civil War. Crane’s intended audience could be anybody looking to read a good book. This book may not be for those who don’t like descriptive reading of war because Crane does an amazing job with that. Historical people who like to read history would love this book. This displays great American history ideas. I think this book makes a significant contribution to history because it is one of the few books on the Civil War. Not only is it on the Civil War, but it isn’t non-fiction. It tells a story of a soldier so it doesn’t become boring either. Stephen Crane’s tremendous descriptive writing and knowledge of one of America’s biggest events makes The Red Badge of Courage one of the greatest history novels of all time.

 

 

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