The Red Badge of Courage
Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
He felt the subtle battle brotherhood more potent even than the cause for which they were fighting (5.15).
This is an important line, as it reminds us that Henry’s reasons for fighting have more to do with courage and masculinity than anything else. When we talk in "Character Analysis" about Henry’s motivation, we explore this idea further.
There was something curious in this little intent pause of the lieutenant. He was like a babe which, having wept its fill, raises its eyes and fixes upon a distant toy. He was engrossed in this contemplation, and the soft under lip quivered from self-whispered words (20.20).
This is a great example of Crane’s vs. Henry’s viewpoint. Henry sees men like the lieutenant as the epitome of masculinity, but the figurative language used evokes the image of an infant with a toy.
It had begun to seem to them that events were trying to prove that they were impotent. These little battles had evidently endeavored to demonstrate that the men could not fight well.
When on the verge of submission to these opinions, the small duel had showed them that the proportions were not impossible, and by it they had revenged themselves upon their misgivingsand upon the foe.
The impetus of enthusiasm was theirs again. They gazed about them with looks of uplifted pride, feeling new trust in the grim, always confident weapons in their hands. And they were men (20.30).
The regiment’s confidence in its own manhood fluctuates as often as Henry’s temperamental moods. It all seems dependent on luck and battle outcomes, leading us to wonder how substantial all this supposed "masculinity" really is.