Term Paper on The Red Badge of Courage

This essay has a total of 431 words and 2 pages.

The Red Badge of Courage

Unique in style and content, the novel explores the emotions of a young Civil War recruit
named Henry Fleming. What is most remarkable about this classic is that the
twenty-four-year-old author had never witnessed war in his life before writing this book.
Crane's story developed to some degree out of his reading of war stories by Russian
novelist Leo Tolstoy and the popular memoirs of Civil War veterans, yet he also deviated
from these influences in his depiction of war's horror. Critics have noted that his
portrait of war is an intensely psychological one, blending elements of naturalism,
impressionism, and symbolism. Indeed, he broke away from his American realist
contemporaries, including his mentor William Dean Howells, in his naturalistic treatment
of man as an amoral creature in a deterministic world.


For this reason, critical reactions to the The Red Badge of Courage in 1895 were mixed:
some disapproved of Crane's use of the vernaculara€"the common slang of everyday folk
and soldiersa€"and the impressionistic technique. Crane also experimented with
psychological realism, and his venture into the realm of the human psyche radically
changed the common perception of the novel in America. As he faces combat for the first
time, Henry experiences an intense array of emotions: courage, anxiety, self-confidence,
fear, and egotistic zeal. Interestingly enough, the naturalistic flavor of the work
operates against this serf-important ego. The individual is not of primary importance, as
is evidenced time and again in the words of Henry's mother, fellow soldiers, and officers.
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