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The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage

by Stephen Crane

The Red Badge of Courage Analysis

Literary Devices in The Red Badge of Courage

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

After Henry runs away from battle and is in the midst of rationalizing his behavior, he comes across a particularly tranquil spot in the woods: At length he reached a place where the high, arching...

Setting

The Red Badge of Courage takes place during an unnamed battle during the Civil War. Crane deliberately never mentions the place, the date, or even the fact that the war is the one between the state...

Narrator Point of View

In The Red Badge of Courage, we see the action through the eyes of just one character, "the Youth" named Henry Fleming. Though Henry is not the narrator of the story, we are inside Henry’s mi...

Genre

Because of the setting of Red Badge – one particular battle in the U.S. Civil War – the novel is easily pegged as both a war drama and historical fiction. (The characters are fictional;...

Tone

Many have identified in Red Badge a discrepancy between Henry’s thoughts and those of the author. Crane often uses exaggerated language to describe Henry’s visions of glory and valor, s...

Writing Style

We know, we know – the last time you wrote a "grammatically unconventional" English paper you got a C-. Stephen Crane certainly takes liberty with the conventions of the language, going Yoda...

What’s Up With the Title?

The title hails from a passage in the novel when Henry, our protagonist, sees the bloody, battle-injured men around him and "wishe[s] that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage" (9.47). The...

What’s Up With the Ending?

From his first battle, Henry oscillates between hating himself for running away and pretending he’s hot stuff for knowing enough to get (what?) while the getting was good. But it’s at t...

Plot Analysis

Henry enlists in the Union army and is waiting to do some fighting.We join the novel when Henry is already in the field. Though we get some flashbacks and back-story, the majority of this stage con...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: The Quest

Enlisting in the militaryHenry feels the call of glory and honor and seeks to prove his courage by becoming a war hero.That first battle (a.k.a. the 500-meter dash); "the Tattered Soldier"; JimR...

Three Act Plot Analysis

PRE-BATTTLE: Henry worries and obsesses about whether or not he will run away from battle. The act ends right about the time when Henry’s fears come to fruition and he actually does flee the...

Trivia

Stephen Crane was the last of 14 children born to his [exhausted] parents. (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)The battle that Henry Fleming fights so heroically in was actually won by the Confederate...

Steaminess Rating

Sorry, there is absolutely no sex of any kind in this novel. Hey, it’s a war novel…what can we say?

Allusions

The Battle of Chancellorsville (The historical setting of Red Badge, though not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the text)Napoleon Bonaparte (2.56)
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