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Red Bagde of Courage

            I read the Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, which was written to about the harsh Civil War realities. The novel begins with an army that is along a bank and seems that they will never leave camp. All the soldiers are very frustrated because they had been waiting a long time for some action. Then the book introduces a young man named Henry Fleming who is the main character and focuses on his struggles within himself. .
             Henry, a young soldier fighting for the Union army during the American Civil War had many misconceptions of war. He enlists as a youth with heroic fantasies of battle lingering in his mind. As a young boy who grew up on a farm he became bored and searched for adventure. So he had dreams of joining the army and becoming a hero. The story follows his evolution from childhood to adulthood and his trials and tribulations along the way. His journey included many people and things that helped him mature. After being in a battle Henry soon realized that war was not as glorious as he thought. .
             After running away from the enemy he overhears the commander saying that the regiment has held back the enemy charge. He feels ashamed of his cowardice and tried to convince himself that he was right to preserve his own life. He then joins up with a column of wounded soldiers winding down the road. He is deeply envious of these men, thinking that a wound is like "a red badge of courage;" visible proof of valorous behavior. He meets a tattered man who has been shot twice and who speaks proudly of the fact that his regiment did not flee. He repeatedly asks Henry where he is wounded, which makes Henry deeply uncomfortable and compels him to hurry away to a different part of the column. He meets a soldier with a distant, numb look on his face. Henry eventually recognizes the man as a badly wounded Jim Conklin. Henry promises to take care of Jim, but Jim runs from the line into a small grove of bushes where Henry and the tattered man watch him die.

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