The Red Badge Of Courage: A Soldier's Dilemma

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A Soldier’s Dilemma Like many others in his regiment, Henry Fleming, protagonist in The Red Badge of Courage, expects the Battle of Chancellorsville to be filled with heroism and legendary acts of dauntless heroism. Heroism, however, seems nowhere to be found, and Henry is left questioning his own valor. In The Red Badge of Courage, Crane writes Henry Fleming as a flawed yet good-hearted character by revealing his inner thoughts as he runs from the battle, his actions directed toward comrades, and by displaying Henry’s differences at the end of the story to emphasize the inner struggle between courage and cowardice. Henry’s flawed nature and inner desire to be morally upright are revealed as he escapes the battle and as he justifies himself…show more content…
Crane writes Henry saying, “‘Well, we both did good. I 'd like to see the fool what 'd say we both didn 't do as good as we could’” (205). In this small gesture, the reader is shown that Henry is becoming more and more selfless, as Henry would have taken the glory for the victory and refused to share it even two chapters earlier. Crane is sure to leave Henry with flaws, however: “A scowl of mortification and rage was upon his face. He had thought of a fine revenge upon the officer who had referred to him and his fellows as mule drivers” (192). Henry’s intense desire for revenge is a moral flaw, but Crane leaves hope for Henry as he does not act on his hatred for the officer (192). Henry Fleming finally finds inner peace, and courage wins the war in his heart. Crane writes, “Yet the youth smiled, for he saw that the world was a world for him, though many discovered it to be made of oaths and walking sticks. He had rid himself of the red sickness of , battle” (232). This passage gives the reader the idea that Henry’s inner battle is over, and the novel comes to a close shortly after. Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage, writes Henry Fleming deeply flawed yet morally virtuous through his thoughts in and after battle, how he treats his friends, and the changes that he experiences as a character to show the triumph of bravery over faintheartedness. As Henry wrestles with

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