The Red Badge of Courage
Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
He told himself that he was not formed for a soldier. And he mused seriously upon the radical differences between himself and those men who were dodging implike around the fires (2.34).
Henry defines masculinity by what he sees in his comrades. When he sees that he differs from them, his own manhood is called into question.
The lieutenant of the youth's company was shot in the hand. He began to swear so wondrously that a nervous laugh went along the regimental line. The officer's profanity sounded conventional. It relieved the tightened senses of the new men. It was as if he had hit his fingers with a tack hammer at home (4.18).
This is the image of "real men" for Henry: laughing and swearing in the face of injury and pain.
A mounted officer displayed the furious anger of a spoiled child. He raged with his head, his arms, and his legs (4.27).
This is not the first time Henry’s image of ideal masculinity is tainted with figurative language describing babies or infants. Crane calls into question his main character’s understanding of what it means to be a man.