Red Badge Of CourageThe Red Badge of Courage begins with the Youth (Henry) preparing to leave towar. He has fabulous ideas concocted in his mind about victory and heroism. TheYouth soon finds that victory and heroism are a small part in the splendor ofwar. The Youth’s mind soon becomes burdened with thoughts of death and runningaway from battle. Sure enough, in the midst of battle, the Youth flees thebattlefield. The Youth must learn to deal with the shame he feels on desertinghis comrades.
When he returns to his camp he lies and says that he was separatedduring combat and was shot. The Youth is given another chance to fight and provehe is not a coward. As the book progresses, the Youth learns to deal with hisshame by feeling honored for being a hero. In the end, the Youth becomes a man. He learns that the most important lessons in life can be seen by opening hiseyes. I personally was attracted to the Youth.
All his thoughts and wildimagination impressed me. He would describe death as a being that could swallowhim whole, and ramble on about wonderful sunsets. The Youth was also a verytroubled soul. He worried a lot over things he might do and not the things hewould do. For instance, on page 34, he questions others in hope that theiranswers would comfort him.
He feels disassociated from others, “The Youth,considering himself separated from the others. . . ” (p29). Page 35 quotes,”He was a mental outcast.
” He lacked self confidence and”continually tried to measure himself by his comrades. ” (p22). Despitehis sorrow, the Youth was creative and compared ideas and objects to other ideasand objects. “The battle was like the grinding of an immense and terriblemachine. ” I believe that the Youth brought the book to life through hislife.
At times I would find myself thinking, “I’ve thought that too!”For example on page 127, the Youth announces that his life should be lived tohis expectations and not everyone else’s. I strongly agree with him on thatidea. When the Youth was involved in hard situations, I pondered on what I woulddo and what decisions I would make. To illustrate, on page 80, when the youthran, I decided I would have stayed and fought for my dignity if nothing else. Atthe end of the book, Henry learns how important life truly is and why.
Helearned that war deals with death shame, and sorrow, not just victory andfreedom. On page 266, Henry becomes a man. “He had been to touch the greatdeath, and found, after all, it was but the great death. ” Henry lookeddeath in the eyes and fulfilled his dream of becoming a hero. He had earned theRed Badge of Courage.