The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, shows several different situations men face during war and how each act in these instances. Will all soldiers act in the same manner when they are in a battlefield filled with gruesome corpses and blood gushing along the grounds? As humans, people will sometimes encounter identical emotions in certain circumstances. Yet, few will react with these feelings in the same way. In situations dealing with fear, guilt, loneliness, and anger, individuals will try to overcome these feelings with actions developed from their behavior.
Henry Fleming, the main character, experiences events that arouse his fears as the warfare progresses. "He was afraid to make an open declaration of his concern, because he dreaded to place some unscrupulous confidant upon the high plane of the unconfessed from which elevation he could be derided." (pg. 12) The first strife is about to begin and Fleming worries how he will perform. He fears he will not be the hero as he imagines himself to be. He is afraid to admit this feeling to other soldiers for the fear of being ridiculed and looked down upon. He tries to find comfort by speaking with other men, but none appear to have his feelings of doubt and fear for the upcoming battle. He condemns himself with such thoughts of cowardice. All people want to be heroes, especially in war, but many get this feeling of fear that keeps them from revealing their true skills. Affected by the heat of the moment, many soldiers will run away to assure survival and safety, as did Henry. .
Wilson also experiences fear of the oncoming battle, but he copes with the feeling differently from Henry. ""It's my first and last battle, old boy," said the latter, with intense gloom. He was quite pale and his girlish lip was trembling." (pg. 26) Wilson is afraid of dying and believes he will die in this first battle. Although he believes for a fact he will die, he is still going to fight.