The Red Badge of Courage
How we cite our quotes:
There was the delirium that encounters despair and death, and is heedless and blind to the odds. It is a temporary but sublime absence of selfishness (19.8).
This is the final step in Henry’s transformation, and it explains why he is able to fight so fiercely in the novel’s final battle.
His friend came to him. "Well, Henry, I guess this is good-by-John."
"Oh, shut up, you damned fool!" replied the youth, and he would not look at the other (20.17).
Henry and Wilson have exchanged roles; now Henry is the one who refuses melodrama in favor of practicality and adherence to duty.
For a time this pursuing recollection of the tattered man took all elation from the youth's veins. He saw his vivid error, and he was afraid that it would stand before him all his life. He took no share in the chatter of his comrades, nor did he look at them or know them, save when he felt sudden suspicion that they were seeing his thoughts and scrutinizing each detail of the scene with "the Tattered Soldier."
Yet gradually he mustered force to put the sin at a distance. And at last his eyes seemed to open to some new ways. He found that he could look back upon the brass and bombast of his earlier gospels and see them truly. He was gleeful when he discovered that he now despised them (24.30).
This quote is important to the novel’s conclusion. Henry is finally able to both recognize his shortcomings and appreciate his value. His past failures neither destroy him nor does he pretend they never happened. There’s a reason "acceptance" is always the final step…