Study Guide

Captain Andrew Henry in The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

By Michael Punke

Captain Andrew Henry

Captain Andrew Henry is a cursed man—or at least that's what he thinks.

Captain Curse

Though it might be overblown, Henry's fear that he's cursed is rooted in his real experiences on the frontier. Take, for example, the story of George Drouillard, an old comrade of Lewis and Clark who once traveled with Henry…and got hacked up by a hostile native tribe. Henry was also around for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company's recent disastrous battle with the Arikara. With these failures fresh in his mind, our captain has become "racked by internal doubt" (1.228).

Henry's indecisiveness is only amplified after Glass, one of his best men, is struck down by a bear. "What sin has plagued me with this curse?" he asks himself (1.3.59). Emo much? Regardless, Henry becomes increasingly agitated as he agonizes over whether to take Glass's wounded body along with him and his men, as it puts the entire group at risk. Instead of being authoritative and firm in his choices, Henry remains wishy-washy until the very end.

Rock Bottom in the Rocky Mountains

After a series of ever-worsening events—Fitzgerald's desertion, a cannon-and-booze related disaster, and the repeated theft of their horses by local tribes–the Rocky Mountain Fur Company is left in dire straits. Henry, for his part, states it simply: they're broke. And with that, it seems that Henry's curse has finally caught up with him and ruined his life, as he had always feared it would.

Luckily, there's a silver lining to this cloud: Jim Bridger. Bridger, having finally realized that he needs adventure in his life, wants to go on a trapping mission even deeper into the Western frontier. He wants to explore. Although Henry is still depressed about the fate of his company, he wonders "how long had it been since he felt even an ounce of that youthful optimism" and agrees (2.28.17). It might be a long shot, but we think that the Captain's curse just might be lifting.