Red Badge Of Courage 4 Essay

1872 words - 7 pages

The Red Badge of Courage depicts the evolution of the childish, Henry Fleming, into a grown hero. Like Simba in The Lion King, Henry must conquer a psychological obstacle. Simba had to retrieve his kingdom from his corrupt uncle who convinced him that Simba was responsible for his father's death and forced Simba to abandon the Pride Lands. Simba ran from the shame and repentance of his self-made situation. Similarly, Henry's fate was self-made. Henry, too, had to confront cowardliness: would he run? Henry Fleming began his journey into adulthood, as a youthful coward, who, through many trials, matured into a hero.Henry's youthful cowardliness began when "he burned … to enlist"(Babusci 577). His motive was an attempt to achieve adulthood and heroism. From birth, Henry was subject to the guidance of his mother; however, her guidance was more dictation than recommendation. For instance, when he initially informed her of his desire to enlist, she heartlessly discouraged him, urging him not to be a fool. Once Henry departed his diminutive hometown, he arrived in Washington with great expectations. Henry believed enlisting instantaneously classified him as a hero. More than anything, Henry relied on his imagination to define war and its glorious battles, as Greek epics did. He often compared the enemy to beasts and dragons; he felt if he could conquer those savages of the South, he too could be a hero.The hero within Henry began as a desperate attempt for the approval of his comrades. Throughout the novel, Henry illustrates this desire, determining to save himself from mockery. "Henry does not want his fellows to regard him scornfully"(Gibson 46). Trying to obtain some sense of relief, he asked the others if they would run. Eventually, Henry ran "like a proverbial chicken"(Babusci 599). Over time, Henry tormented himself with the fear of rejection, so he exaggerated the blow to his head by a rifle to a gunshot wound as a disguise to fleeing. Therefore, Henry sensed the immense burden of resentment rise from his shoulders because he had fooled the entire regiment. However, Henry soon felt his conscience surfacing and his guilt burdening him. Henry must prove himself a hero; he must repent his sins of lying, abandoning and fleeing. During the last encounter, Henry conquered the flag bearer position, which is in the most perilous position of the battle; nevertheless, Henry believed he must lead the regiment. Moreover, when Henry turned back pursuing the approval of the regiment's remainder, he found they were all dead or wounded. Henry now realizes his previous fear as ridiculous; it was Henry's view of reality.Henry's view of reality was primarily emotional. Henry feels, yet he does not think. To cite an instance, Henry deemed himself as a hero the moment he reached Washington, "…his spirit had soared…until the youth believed that he must be a hero"(Babusci 580). In Washington, Henry was "fed and caressed" with an abundance of...

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