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The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage

by Stephen Crane

Religious Stuff

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Crane, who was the son of a minister (but not himself a believer), also uses religious imagery in the novel. The chapter that deals with the death of Jim Conklin (notice his initials), promotes Jim as a sort of Christ-figure who through his painful death helps "redeem" Henry. The final sentence of this chapter ("The red sun was pasted in the sky like a wafer" (9.54).), is no mere description of nature. In the Christian sacrament of communion, believers eat the "body of Christ" via communion wafers and red wine. Crane seems to be commenting on the concept of men having to die to save other men, whether in war or in spirit. It gets us back to that "part of a larger whole" thing we talked about in the "Why Should I Care." Gosh, almost like a common important thread or something…

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