The Red Badge of Courage

By Stephen Crane

A book report by Hana Hardenbrook

The genre of the book is historical fiction.  The plot development is man v.s. man, and man v.s. self.  The protagonist is a young man named Henry Fleming.  The antagonists are the nameless enemy who are the Confederate army.  

Character Traits

-He starts off as uncertain

-In the first battle, he is cowardly

-As the battle goes on, he becomes courageous

-At the end of the battle, he is at peace with himself

Characters

-Henry

-The tall soldier Jim, Henry's friend

-Wilson, the soldier who befriends Henry

These were the only named characters in the book.

Setting

The entire book's setting are fields and woods in Virginia, the site of the major Civil War battle of Chancellorsville.  

-Forbidding, because of the nearness of the rarely seen enemy

-Rural

-Isolated, because the main character sees only a small part of the battle

-Green

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to Civil War buffs, but not anyone else.  It had very old fashioned writing because it was written in 1895, so it used very unfamiliar words.  This made it seem a bit dull and confusing.

Summary

The Red Badge of Courage was about a young man named Henry Fleming, who volunteers to join the Union army early in the Civil War.  As battle comes nearer, he is full of self doubt.  The whole book is a description of his experiences and inner feelings of anxiety about being in the army.  He frequently wonders whether he will stand his ground in battle or run away.  The book has no other major themes, no politics, moral judgements, or causes of the war.

While experiencing his first battle, his friend Jim is killed.  This gives him anxiety about battle, so he runs away.  He is nervous to go back to his regiment after the battle in fear of his comrades thinking he is a coward.

However, the next day he makes up for is previous cowardliness by standing his ground.  He is then marked as one of the most courageous men in his regiment.  The book ends with his depleted regiment being withdrawn from the battle and moving parallel with the enemy forces.  It describes well the horror of war, but gives you no idea of who wins the battle.  But Henry Fleming is at last at peace with himself, and no longer worries about what his comrades think of him.

     

Conclusion

Something I noticed about the writing was it was very old fashioned and hard to understand.  The author used many words that are no longer heard in English.

This book actually reminded me of my dad, because he loves history and the Civil War.  It was a book he enjoyed, so I thought of him while I was reading it.

My connection is also about my dad, because now I can appreciate his love of history more than I did before.

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