Henry becomes such a confident, assertive, aggressive soldier that, ironically, he becomes a fighting machine himself.
He is dazed by the blow and wanders back through the woods. As he watches, the battle turns against the Union forces, and many of the men begin to retreat.
One of these wounded soldiers, identified as "a tattered soldier," befriends Henry and begins a conversation with him; however, when the tattered soldier asks Henry where he is wounded, Henry evades the question by leaving him and drifting into the crowd of soldiers.
When he finally engages in his first battle, he blindly fires into the battle haze, never seeing his enemy. Henry resolves his guilt over abandoning the tattered soldier by deciding to use the memory of this selfish, uncaring act to keep himself humble — to control any egotism he feels because of his now strong fighting ability.
Henry is then befriended by a cheery soldier who returns him to his regiment. Wilson feared that he was going to die in battle, and he wanted Henry to give the letters to his family. This knowledge gives Henry courage and restores his confidence.
He hears the noise of a battle and sees reinforcement troops heading toward the front. As Henry continues walking with the wounded, he sees a veteran soldier of his company, Jim Conklin, who is mortally wounded. Henry fears being ridiculed by his comrades on his return, but when he enters his camp, two soldiers, Wilson and Simpson, see his injury and immediately begin ministering to him.
Henry continues his retreat for some time, even after he overhears that his regiment repelled the enemy. He experiences tedious waiting, not immediate glory. The tattered soldier again asks Henry about his wound. Henry gets caught up in their retreat. It is the story of the growth of a young man from innocence to maturity.
When Jim suddenly collapses and dies, Henry is devastated. Henry follows Jim, and, eventually, the tattered soldier joins them. The more he waits for battle, the more doubt and fear creep into his mind.
Shortly after enlisting, the reality of his decision sets in. Henry converts his fear of the enemy into anger and becomes a leader, fighting boldly at the side of his lieutenant. He tries to stop a retreating soldier to find out what is happening; however, the soldier only wants to get away, so he hits Henry over the head with his rifle, leaving Henry with a serious head wound.
As the regiment prepares to move out, Wilson asks Henry to return a packet of letters that he gave Henry before the first battle. He comes upon many wounded men returning from the front to get medical assistance. When he finally slows and rests, he hears the sound of a renewed battle and, ironically, he returns to the battle from which he has fled.Lesson Summary.
The Red Badge of Courage is a story of a young man's journey to adulthood, over 48 hours of battle during the Civil War. The use of color, religious, and animal imagery highlights the difference between the romantic narrator and the realistic novel.
The Red Badge of Courage study guide contains a biography of Stephen Crane, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The Red Badge of Courage took a non-traditional approach to the war story.
In addition to stylistic differences (which are treated in detail in the companion EDSITEment lesson The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Realism), Crane eschews the didacticism readers were accustomed to.
See a complete list of the characters in The Red Badge of Courage and in-depth analyses of Henry Fleming, Jim Conklin, and Wilson. The Red Badge of Courage is the story of Henry Fleming, a teenager who enlists with the Union Army in the hopes of fulfilling his dreams of glory.
Shortly after enlisting, the reality of his decision sets in. The Red Badge of Courage takes place during an unnamed battle during the Civil War.
Crane deliberately never mentions the place, the date, or even the .Download