The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage

eBook - 2021
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Publisher: Project Gutenberg


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The Red Badge of Courage is a novel about a boy named Henry Fleming who has enlisted into the army during the Civil War with romanticized ideas of what it means to be a courageous soldier. Once Henry begins to see some action, he is like any other soldier on the battlefront--he is terrified of dying and killing. On the battlefield, Henry learns to gain courage and perseverance through the events he faces during the war. Henry faces many challenges based on his duties in the war, each being unique and difficult, but ending in some measure of triumph. I liked that this novel showed the gradual change of the protagonist throughout the story. I also found I could relate to Henry since he is around the same age as me when he goes off to war. I am also interested in war stories and novels, so this was a great addition to that genre for me. I would recommend this book to almost anyone as it has a good message for every reader. I would also recommend this book to those that are interested in war stories and the effects of war. Overall, I give this novel a 4.5 out of 5 as I was able to relate very closely to the character, and the time setting interested me and kept me connected with the novel. @Josh, grade 12, Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers

Oct 18, 2019

This one has long been criticized for its positive feature: its realism. The critics said, in effect, that it was so realistic, and knowing that the author had not been in combat, therefore, it was fake, and should not be honored as a great work of literature. Nevertheless, many a school curriculum has featured the novel, over many the year.

Oct 17, 2019

One of the first novels (at least among those written in English) to disrupt the prevailing standard of portraying warfare as glorious and exhilarating. Tellingly, Crane characterizes a pitched battle as a machine whose purpose is to produce corpses. The taking of ground, despite being the momentary goal in the heat of battle, is revealed to be meaningless. At no point is there any mention of the overall objective of the entire endeavor. Crane further flew in the face of tradition by portraying the officer corps, especially the generals, as incompetent, capricious and oblivious to the suffering of their troops.
Crane's ploy of rarely using soldiers' names is effective in pointing out the fact that they are simply pawns in a deadly game played by others. And yet he makes it painfully clear that these are real, breathing, frightened, confused, angry, resentful young men who desperately seek to avoid acknowledging themselves as victims. By reckless acts in the face of heavy fire they seek to rise above their powerless state and claim for themselves moments of personal victory, if only in their own eyes. The vitality of these young men is further enhanced by Crane's language, especially the pithy, abrupt, earthy dialogue, while the inner turmoil experienced by scantily trained, poorly led farm boys is mercilessly exposed.
Although his protagonist, Henry Fleming craves a "red badge" signifying courage in the form of a visible wound, he comes to understand that it's coming to terms with his own shame, fear and moral conflict that requires even greater courage than facing imminent death on the battlefield.
Although Crane, by his own admission took much of his inspiration from Tolstoy and set his novel in mid 19th century, this is a book that looked far into the future and marked a profound change in the way war was to be portrayed in literature — by writers such as Remarque, Hemingway and others.

Sep 21, 2017

What I liked about this novel is that, instead of focussing on military battles, it describes the array of feelings that a young soldier goes through in a war: excitement, boredom, fear, shame. It is only when the main character is forced to fight in order to survive that he stops having feelings (in other words, that he stops being a human) and becomes a killing machine. And this is what horrifies Stephen Crane about war.

Jun 24, 2016

This book was awful.

Kdmullerspy Jun 20, 2014

It was okay, but a little slow. It kept me interested, though.

Doctor_10101 Jan 15, 2014

Loved it! The storytelling drew me in and had me reading till the end. Crane did a masterful job.

Nov 30, 2010

Excellent and quick read.

Mar 11, 2010

Through highly vivid and visual prose, this novel provides a first-person description of a cruel American Civil War battle. Much of the story describes how the difficult battle affects the mental state of a young recruit on the front lines. In particular, the young hero vacilates between wanting to fight and wanting to flee.


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SPL_STARR Jun 15, 2015

"The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting."


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