Courage And Henry's Character Essay

912 words - 4 pages

Courage is defined by the dictionary as the quality of the mind that enables someone to do something that frightens them. In my opinion, courage comes from being humble and honest, whether you have won or lost. In Stephen Crane’s book, The Red Badge of Courage, Henry Fleming struggles with whether he is courageous or not throughout the entire book. The true question is what does it take to be courageous and does Henry have these qualities?
Opinions may differ on whether Henry Fleming is courageous in battle, or a coward. In the first battle, he seems to prove to himself that he can fight and be what he believes a man should be. When the second battle occurs, there is a different feeling ...view middle of the document...

He conceived persons with torn bodies to be peculiarly happy. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage. ” In this excerpt it is clear that Henry believes that a wound is a “red badge of courage,” symbolizing a true act of heroism. Through these experiences, Henry’s view on courage seems to change slightly. He comes to believe that courage or bravery is defined by having a battle wound, which in my eyes is not the case. Sometimes true courage is shown by owning up to your actions, such as Henry running away.
His encounters with other characters bring out many feelings, good and bad, in Henry. When he experiences his good friend Jim Conklin die, he is outraged. The feelings of fear and resentment seem to push him over the edge at this point. Shortly after Jim’s death, Henry deserts a tattered soldier, leaving the reader with a feeling that he cares about nothing but himself. The death of especially Jim Conklin brings out feelings of shame for running away, and pure fear of dying. Henry longs for a battle wound to prove to him and the others that he is a true hero. The irony of this situation is that the person who is scared of dying would want a wound.
Henry also holds a close relationship with a man by the name of Wilson. Henry notices a significant change in Wilson throughout the novel. In the start, Crane refers to Wilson as “the loud soldier,” but the reader notices that he eventually becomes more quiet and reserved. This change...

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