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The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage

by Stephen Crane

Protagonist

Character Role Analysis

Henry Fleming

Henry is the main character and the person we identify with the most. We are made aware of his feelings and thoughts on a very consistent basis. Henry’s moods and feelings are so quickly shifting that it is these that actually move the novel forward, rather than a series of suspenseful events. It is Henry’s response to each event that is surprising and intriguing. He is utterly unpredictable and, as such, can also be irritating. We want to see him succeed, but we also want to give him a solid smack him on the head from time to time. In this way, he is more interesting than the average protagonist who struggles against things outside of himself. Henry’s struggles are all internal, which we both identify with and despise at the same time. We even recognize our own weaknesses in Henry.


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