Henry Flemming and Then Red Badge of Courage

1725 Words Apr 5th, 2005 7 Pages
Fear, worry, anxiety, curiosity, distress, nervousness; all emotions of a young, naïve soldier entering war for the first time. To the reader, this is exactly what Henry Fleming represents. Because Crane never tells us what he looks like, just how old he is, or exactly where he comes from, and usually refers to him as "the youth" (Crane, 12) or "the young soldier" (Crane, 14), Henry could be any young many experiencing war for the first time. Throughout the novel The Red Badge of Courage, Henry Fleming goes through many psychological chances, each having a distinct impact on the novel. These changes can be put into three stages; before, during, and after the war. Due to the ambiguity surrounding the character of Henry Fleming, the …show more content…
Finally, the army is ordered to march (Crane, 44). During the regiment's advance, Henry is bothered because he does not know what to expect (Mitchell, 98). Rumors of war have already spread, and he blindly expects to meet the enemy (Weisberger, 28). When his prediction is amiss, his spirits are low, partly because he has had too much "opportunity to reflect and prepare" for this moment (Breslin, 3). As the regiment continues on, Henry comes face to face with his first encounter with death (Breslin, 3). He feels that the corpse on the ground is symbolism, representing his future death in battle (Hungerford, 161). Once again, Crane reveals a fragment of Henry's immaturity stemming from selfishness (Hungerford, 161). In the first battle, the Youth's greatest fear comes true. At the first charge from the enemy, his regiment becomes scattered and disorganized (Gibson, 72). Henry follows the lead of his comrades, throws down his rifle and runs (Breslin, 4). Egoistically as usual, Henry's first concerns are for himself. Will he ever be reunited with his regiment (Hungerford, 161)? Will his cowardice be discovered (Hungerford, 162)? Henry becomes obsessed by fear and feels the need to be occupied (Weisberger, 2). In a desperate ploy for protection, Henry joins a procession of the wounded (Crane, 58). This only makes matters worse for Henry in many ways. The injured, suffering men only make Henry feel even
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