Study Guide

"The Tattered Soldier" in The Red Badge of Courage

By Stephen Crane

"The Tattered Soldier"

We don’t know much about "the Tattered Soldier," save the fact that he’s, you know, tattered. Henry meets this man in the midst of Jim’s death and shortly thereafter abandons him, despite persistent pleading. In Henry’s eyes, "the Tattered Soldier" talks too much and needs too much. He appears to be kindhearted, but his pleadings for company are in some way detrimental to the tough attitude and determination that are necessary components of war. His attentions come off as weak; this is the first character to provide Henry with a definitively negative example of how to be a man. When Henry walks away from him, it’s as though he’s rejecting these characteristics in favor of those he considers more masculine.