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The Red Badge of Courage (aspects of war)

            The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, details the aspects of war. Among these are the hidden inner qualities which war can bring out among the soldiers. Some of these qualities may be negative, while other qualities are quite beneficial. Whatever hidden traits war may bring out in a person, those traits will ultimately change the character and behavior of the soldiers.
             One of the most common traits that are brought out in this story is fear or cowardice. When engaged in a war, a soldier will constantly face death and dole out death during the course of the war. Facing one's own death can instill fear in many people, including the soldiers in the book. ("He became like the man who lost his legs at the approach of the red and green monster") For example, Henry, at his first battle, fights alongside his regiment against the first wave of troops. He decides to flee when the second wave attacks. This is an example of how the constant threat of death provoked a hidden quality, albeit a negative one, of fear in Henry. This trait changes Henry's character by ultimately challenging him Henry to be braver. ("He had been out among the dragons, he said, and he assured himself that they were not so hideous as he had imagined them.").
             A second, negative quality which war can bring is despair. While for some soldiers, facing death will bring fear and paranoia; for others a constant threat of death will bring about a sense of doom. ("Once he thought he had concluded that it would be better to get killed directly and end his troubles") This quality is a sense of inevitability that pervades a person's mind and guarantees them that they will meet their maker soon. The reality in which these soldiers are living, full of death and misery, inspired this despair. At certain times in this novel, Henry wishes for death or injury, because of both shame and because of a longing to go somewhere where he is understood.

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