Red Badge Of Courage Spark Notes

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Red Badge Of Courage


The Red Badge Of Courage



The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane outlines the effects of war on a Union soldier,
Henry Fleming, from his dreams of being a soldier, to his enlistment, and through several
battles of the Civil War.

Henry Fleming was not happy with his boring life on the farm. He wanted to become a hero
in war and have girls loving him for his big achievements in battle. He knew his mother
would not like to see him go to war, but it was his decision to make. He dreamed of the
exiting battles of war and the thrill of fighting magnificent battles. He didn't want to
stay on the farm with nothing to do, so he made the final decision to enlist.

After enlisting he finds himself just sitting around with nothing to do. He manages to
make friends with two other soldiers, John Wilson and Jim Conklin. Wilson was as exited
about going to war like Henry, while Jim was positive about the success of the new
regiment. Henry started to realize after a few days of marching, that their regiment was
just wandering pointlessly, and going in circles. They kept marching on without fighting.
During time Henry started to think about the battles in a different way, he started to
become afraid that he might run from battle when duty calls.

When the regiment finally learns of a battle taking place, Jim gives Henry a little packet
in a yellow envelope, telling Henry that this will be his first and last battle. The
regiment managed to hold off the rebels for the first charge, but then the rebels came
back driving the regiment back. One man started to flee, then another, and another still.
Henry was scared, confused, and in a daze as he saw his army losing. He finally got up and
started running away from the enemy.

Henry started to think about his behavior after running away. At first he feels he was a
stupid coward for running but he feels he was just saving himself for later. He didn't
want to die, even though his side is losing. He believes he was smart for running and
hopes he will die in battle just for spite.

When Henry met Jim, he also met a tattered man. In the next charge, Henry and the tattered
man see Jim die a slow, and painful death. After Jim's death, and a little talking, Henry,
not realizing it, leaves the tattered man alone on the battlefield, hurting inside, and
dangerous to himself. In the charge ahead, Henry starts asking the soldiers why they are
running. He grabbed a comrade by the arm and asked the man "why" not letting go of the
mans arm, so the man hit Henry over the head with the butt of his rifle giving Henry his
first Red Badge of Courage.

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