The Literary Symbolism and Significance in The Red Badge of Courage

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Biographical Information about The Author

Stephen Crane was an American author born on November 1, 1871 and died on June 5, 1900. Some of Crane’s most notable works are The Blue Hotel, The Bride Come to Yellow Sky, The Open Boat, Maggie: a Girl of the Streets, and of course, The Red Badge of Courage. His father, Jonathan Crane, was a Methodist minister who had fourteen children. After attending school Crane went to New York City to freelance his away to attain a literary career. While at New York Crane wrote his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets in 1893, and later on create more novels like The Red Badge of Courage in 1895.

Historical Information about the Period of Publication

Amid the 1890's the New York financial exchange set off the Panic of 1983. This prompted one of the most noticeably awful financial dejections in American history; coming just second to the Great Depression in the 1930's. The frenzy was brought about by the breakdown of railways due to overbuilding and lousy development. Because of the frenzy cultivates particularly endured the most as the costs of their harvests like wheat and cotton lost esteem. Besides, there were strikes happening wherever from coal excavators and general specialists due their wages not being sufficient to purchase merchandise because of expansion. This caused harm all around the nation, for instance, the Pullman strike shut down the whole nation's transportation framework.

Characteristics of the Genre

The tale The Red Badge of Courage is an anecdotal story. With it being fiction it has characteristics different books don't. To begin with, they have characters that are made up and made to have more profundity to the story. At that point there is the plot which incorporates a piece, the rising activity, peak, falling activity, lastly the goals. In addition, one of the other significant qualities is the subject, most anecdotal stories incorporate a topic or a message the creator attempts to pass on.

Plot Summary

The Red Badge of Courage is a story about a young man named Henry who wants to fight for the Union in the Civil War. Henry finds himself in a company of both friends and strangers, and these group of soldiers does a lot of training and marching, but unfortunately they tend to see not a lot of action. At most, the company has seen battles in the distance and wounded soldiers pass by them. Although his company wants to fight Henry is actually very nervous and ashamed about it, but when talking to some of the other soldiers he soon finds out that many others think the same. Even though nervous, Henry’s company receives orders to hold a line against the Confederates and they’re victorious. However, in the second Confederate charge, Henry is scared and runs away. Henry flees so far that he ends up near the general barking orders at the back lines. In spite of Henry’s desertion his company is victorious which leads Henry to become even more ashamed of himself. As a result he walks around the torn battlefield, but when he tries to talk to passing soldiers he is hit in the head. Eventually, Henry meets up with his company and is greeted due to them believing he was dead. Henry then goes to the doctor to get his head wound treated and sleeps. The next morning the company is assigned to charge the Confederate lines, and as a result of Henry being so ashamed of himself he decides he will be the one to lead the charge. They are victorious and some of Henry’s officers see his heroism and and courageousness. After the celebration Henry and his company charge a couple more times, and at the end Henry becomes a true veteran.

Describe the Author’s Style

The author's style in The Red Badge of Courage is regular and individual, and furthermore extremely questionable. Crane went for the sentiment of the war being close to home to Henry, so he gives subtleties of the war based off Henry's impression of it. Moreover, he makes his composition characteristic by giving striking and practical scenes. In conclusion, the style is additionally extremely vague because of it enabling the crowd to have their own translations of the story.


“His emotions made him feel strange in the presence of men who talked excitedly of a prospective battle as of a drama they were about to witness, with nothing but eagerness and curiosity apparent in their faces. It was often that he suspected them to be liars” (2.7).

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“At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be peculiarly happy. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage” (9.3).

“Thoughts of his comrades came to him. The brittle blue line had withstood the blows and won. He grew bitter over it. It seemed that the blind ignorance and stupidity of those little pieces had betrayed him. He had been overturned and crushed by their lack of sense in holding the position, when intelligent deliberation would have convinced them that it was impossible. He, the enlightened man who looks afar in the dark, had fled because of his superior perceptions and knowledge. He felt a great anger against his comrades. He knew it could be proved that they had been fools” (7.3).

Henry trusts that his friends feel a similar fear as he, as this would legitimize his own weakness. Ironically Henry's first damage is the aftereffect of a battle with another Union warrior, driven by dread and miscommunication as opposed to valor. Henry legitimizes his abandonment, which means we're seeing increasingly mental weakness. Keep in mind, Henry's voyage isn't tied in with running from the fight and after that taking on in conflict; it's about the psychological development he experiences. He discovers valor through his outlook, which at that point directs his activities.


An unspecified time amid the Civil War; the fight portrayed in the novel is probably an anecdotal record of the Battle at Chancellorsville, which occurred May 2–6, 1863.

Significance of Opening Scene

The abrogating impression of this first part is one of contention. The Union fighters anticipate a physical fight with the Confederate troops in the territory. The prominent outside clash is paralleled by the battle seething in Henry's mind. As the book opens, the reader sees the primary character, a fighter sitting tight for his first fight, incidentally occupied with an interior clash with his own contemplations.

Courage- The Red Badge of Courage is the tale of a youthful Civil War soldiers craving to demonstrate courage despite his dread. The tale investigates an assortment of perspectives on the issue, among them the possibility of self-protection, or the survival sense. It's just unnatural to hazard one's life for something like battle. Mettle is especially attached to manliness; the principle character Henry Fleming feels he can't be a genuine man without first demonstrating his valor. Eventually, bravery is demonstrated through his duty to the Union Army and its more noteworthy reason.

Warfare-The Red Badge of Courage happens through the span of a four-day fight amid the U.S. Civil War. The tale is acclaimed for its depiction of war from a solitary viewpoint, that of a youthful, unpracticed officer, instead of from a more extensive vantage point. Stephen Crane investigates the mental fights looked by a person, which are eventually more significant than the physical fights battled in the field. Crane took a hard, practical look at war, saving us neither the butchery nor the ghastliness in his portrayals of battling, damage, and passing. His depiction is graphic to the point that the novel is considered by most to be hostile to war.

Men and Masculinity- The Red Badge of Courage rotates around a juvenile male looking to demonstrate his manliness by demonstrating his mettle on a front line of the Civil War. Curiously, his meaning of masculinity changes as the novel advances, from a shallow vision of extreme, negligent, intense men of activity to a perfect of self-assurance, level headedness, and acknowledgment. The youthful fighter realizes rapidly that, far structure his underlying impression, the uniform does not make the man. Rather, he and his individual warriors offer significance to the regalia they wear through their aggregate activity.

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