Red Badge Of Courage Character Analysis

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In the story Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, Henry Fleming joins the war with the hope of becoming a hero, although Henry shows no sign of heroism throughout the story. In fact, Henry shows traits of cowardice in a multitude of ways during his experiences at war. Henry's high expectations for himself do not make up for his actions in Red Badge of Courage.
Despite Henry's high ego, dialogue in Red Badge of Courage reveal his cowardly true nature. Henry saw himself as a hero before he got into a battle, but when faced with the reality of war, his imaginations did not come true. For instance, during the march to battle, Henry was continuously complaining about how all the walking was tiring him out and that it was all for nothing. Henry said, “I can't stand this much longer, I don't see what good it does to wear out our legs for nothin’” (Crane 35). Henry knew what he was signing up for when he joined the army, yet in difficult conditions he lacked the motivation to keep going. Another scenario of cowardice shown through dialogue was when Henry was complaining about always losing battles and blaming it on his generals. Henry explains how he does not see any sense in “fighting and fighting and fighting yet always losing through some derned old lunkhead of a general” (Crane 126). Instead of staying strong and trying to find ways to make things
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Although some may say that Henry is brave for joining the war at such a young age, Henry joined the war not thinking of his country, but thinking of the reputation it would give him. Cowardice can be defined in many ways, some may say it means to be afraid and not have the willingness to overcome fears, others may say it means to only think about yourself in dangerous situations. Whatever the meaning, Henry fits all criteria, and his moments of “bravery” are only the moments that Henry was in danger and only thought about saving
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