The Red Badge of Courage is about a young boy, Henry Fleming, who joins a small regiment. Although the author never came out and said what war was taken place, the reader can tell it took place during the Civil War. At the beginning of this novel, Henry begins to question his courage. He wonders if he will stay and fight or run when the time comes to start fighting. The regiment was being moved from place to place, but they still hadn't fought a single battle. They all complained that they were just wasting time and wearing out the souls of their shoes. A few days later, the regiment had orders to go into battle against the Confederates. They had successfully defeated the South, and Henry was relieved that he had not run. The South attacked again, however, this time things didn't look so hopeful for the regiment. When Henry saw that a few men went running scared, he did the same. He later found out that his regiment had successfully won the battle. Throughout a few long days, Henry eventually overcomes his fears of war and finds his way back to the regiment. He made up a story that he had been injured during the second attack and had been separated from the rest of the group. From that point on Henry acted like a different person, he fought his hardest and even became somewhat of a leader.
As you can guess, one of the main themes in this novel is courage. Henry discovers that what he had once thought of as courage was not courage at all. He had always thought of courage as being the town hero. Throughout the novel Henry comes to experience war for what it really is, and not what he had always dreamed it to be. .
The author, Stephen Crane, does not use a lot of dialogue, where he did, he wrote it with a lot of slang and southern accent. This made it seem more real, as if the people were actually saying it. An example of this dialogue is-What th" thunder-we -skedaddlin" this way fer?" "Billie-keep off m" feet.