Many of Stephen Crane’s passions in life strongly influenced his writing of The Red Badge of Courage, most predominately his obsession with war. The Red Badge of Courage, was Crane’s first book about war and arguably is most successful book. His book consisted of so many different styles of writing scholars did not know how to classify it. These styles of writing include realism, naturalism, symbolism, and impressionism. In fact many Civil War Veterans though Crane had fought in the Civil war himself. However Crane was not born until a few years after the war ended. This speaks to the prestige of the realism in Crane’s book.
Before Crane got his start as a writer he was born in Newark, New Jersey on November 1, 1871 to Mary Helen Crane and Reverend Doctor Jonathan Townley Crane. Before Crane published his first novel Maggie: A Girl of The Streets in 1893, he flunked out of both Lafayette College, and Syracuse University. Despite flunking out of school by the time Crane died in 1900 when he was twenty-eight he has written six novels, around a hundred short stories, two books of poems, and voluminous journalism and war correspondence (GCE). Not only did Crane’s writing focus on war, his life revolved around his fascination of war. On multiple occasions Crane went to various countries to witness the Spanish-American War, Greco-Turkish conflict, and an insurrection in Cuba. After her during many of trips he wrote about the war in vivid realism like the realism found in The Red Badge of Courage. Similarly to Crane writers of the 1890s were writing with realism too and among these writers Crane was one of the most influential (EWB). Through these methods of writing Crane examines the reaction of the main character in extreme situations, which opens up the debate whether Henry matured from his experiences in war.
In Stephen Crane’s most well known novel, The Red Badge of Courage, Henry “The Youth” Fleming does not mature from his experiences in war because he maintains his immature and romantic views on war and glory. Crane depicts Henry’s dreams of attaining glory through the symbol, a red badge of courage. When Henry receives his red badge of courage he superficially grows but maintains his immature views on glory. Next, Henry’s egotism does not fade away as the book progresses due to the fact his romantic views on war do not change. Finally, these beliefs that Henry holds influence his behavior in war that does not change from the beginning to the end of the book.
Henry has romantic views on war that he developed over the course of his life, but none of these views are based off real experiences in war, so they are immature. However even towards the end of the book with multiple battles under his belt, Henry still has the same views on glory. Before he even steps on the battlefield Henry is imagining what war will be like and how he will react to it, and he thinks to himself, “He had imagined people secure in the shadow of his eagle-eyed...