Analysis Of The Red Badge Of Courage

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Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895) Explore the ways in which Stephen Crane presents armies, as bodies of men stationary, moving and fighting. Judging by his description of armies, do you think this is an anti-war novel? Throughout The Red Badge of Courage, the Unionist and Confederate armies are repeatedly referred to as single bodies of men during the three phases of rest and engagement (stationary, moving and fighting) signified in the title. For example, in the opening paragraph of the book, the Unionist Army are presented as “resting” whilst the landscape is still brown and a fog covers the horizon. However, as the landscape changes from brown to green, and the sun begins to rise, the whole army immediately…show more content…
He probably thinks of the dragons he read about in stories – mythical fire breathing creatures that a child could only dream of defeating. By symbolising the Confederate army as a row of dragons, in his mind, he is depicting the enemy as an impenetrable force or fire breathing monsters capable of destroying everything in their path. During the phase of movement, Crane presents the armies as reptiles firstly to highlight the large number of soldiers and their precise formation. For example, on pages 14 and 15 in Chapter 2, Henry is able to see the vast scale of the Unionist army, far below the hill, which he is seated beneath: “The youth saw that the landscape was streaked with two, long, thin, black columns … they were like two serpents” and “But the long serpents crawled slowly from hill to hill without bluster of smoke”. These quotes highlight that the Confederate Army are a body of men because it creates a sense of togetherness amongst the soldiers, in the serpent-like formation” and also suggests the army are regimented, structured and fluid and do not break their line. Secondly, Crane’s personification of the Confederate army as serpents also draws out for the reader that this is a dangerous situation, a matter of life and death, as snakes are often dangerous and venomous and they are silent stealth-like movers. We know that Crane came from a religious family so
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