The Red Badge of Courage
How we cite our quotes:
The youth felt triumphant at this exhibition. There was the law, he said. Nature had given him a sign. The squirrel, immediately upon recognizing danger, had taken to his legs without ado.
He did not stand stolidly baring his furry belly to the missile, and die with an upward glance at the sympathetic heavens (7.15).
This line of reasoning, an attempt to justify his own flight, will ultimately prove useless in comforting Henry, since it hinges on him being separate and different from his comrades. In his heart, Henry seeks little more than to be like his comrades.
At length he reached a place where the high, arching boughs made a chapel. He softly pushed the green doors aside and entered. Pine needles were a gentle brown carpet. There was a religious half light. Near the threshold he stopped, horror-stricken at the sight of a thing. He was being looked at by a dead man who was seated with his back against a columnlike tree (7.20).
The almost religious serenity Henry finds in his isolation is marred by this intrusion of a dead body. It’s almost as if Crane is asking, "Where is God in all this, anyway?
At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be peculiarly happy. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage (9.3).
Notice that Henry wants a wound because everyone else has a wound (kind of like new iPod envy). He’s really just seeking to be like those around him.