The Red Badge Of Courage Literary Analysis

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The Civil War was a pivotal event in American history. It drastically changed the American outlook on life and liberty, while also being the bloodiest war that America has fought in. The Civil War also served as a launching point for several authors to talk about events of that time. One of the most famous of these authors is Stephen Crane, whose The Red Badge of Courage depicted the war from the eyes of a common soldier, Henry. Crane uses Henry and the setting of the Battle of Chancellorsville to accurately depict the Civil War in all its brutality. In The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane proves that he is a true historical writer by giving insight on the true nature of war through his graphic depictions and through Henry’s unique…show more content…
“The men dropped here and there like bundles. The captain of the youth 's company had been killed in an early part of the action. His body lay stretched out in the position of a tired man resting, but upon his face there was an astonished and sorrowful look, as if he thought some friend had done him an ill turn” (Crane 70-71). This is just one of the many horrific descriptions of death in the novel, with this one having a slightly different description of the dead. The captain is described as resting and being astonished and compares it to a friend doing something bad to him; expressing a some sort of betrayal, whether about the war itself or from the shock that is being shot. Also, it is said that there were heaps of dead on the battlefield, which is realistic. “Some of his pictures of the horror of battle fields, and especially deserted fields, with dead unburied, are graphic and impressive” (Ferrera and Dossett 170). The Civil War had a very high death count, and there were numerous occasions, like the Battle of Chancellorsville, where there were hundreds of dead bodies lying around, unburied. Crane accurately describes that in every detail. Ferrera and Dossett also point out how realistic and abrasive the descriptions are: “The conversation is crisp and good, the method is realistic to the last degree, and there is no blinking of the ghastly in…show more content…
Crane is able to show what soldiers go through mentally in a war, as seen through Henry’s thoughts and confusion during the battles. Crane also shows that being a common soldier eliminates individuality, due to the effects of the war. Crane also realistically and historically describes the battles of the war, through the setting of the Battle of Chancellorsville, and through the eyes of Henry. All of these aspects come together to make The Red Badge of Courage a significant book about the reality of the Civil War, and makes Crane a significant writer, as he is able to cut through the sugarcoated view of
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