The Red Badge of Courage tends to bore students. They don't want to read about an outdated war when they can watch Zero Dark Thirty with powerful special effects and, let's face it, a storyline that hits a little closer to home. Discussion after discussion on Crane's use of language, imagery, and tone will make them wish they could run for their lives right out of your classroom.
Instead, get students talking about how Henry Fleming is a teenager with a lot of problems and not enough solutions. He doesn't know what he's doing half the time, and he's scared to ask for help. Remind you of anyone? Yes, he is just like your students. Your job is to make them see this. And that job won't be easy because Henry is not exactly the most likeable guy, at least in the beginning. He's immature, selfish, and full of himself. He has some cringe-worthy moments of weakness. But he also learns from his mistakes and finally starts to grow up.