Influences on Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage

1445 WordsJan 26, 20186 Pages
People tend to be greatly influenced by stories, news, and other contemporary sources of knowledge, which ultimately affects the impact they have on the world. Stephen Crane was greatly impacted by the time period in which he lived. One such influence was the popular literary style of Realism. Realism is the trend in which literature is based on the true nature of everyday occurrences devoid of any fantasy or romance. It is the raw depiction of what life and society is actually like. This literary style can be found in many of Stephen Crane’s novels. Religion also had a significant impact on the way Stephen Crane wrote his novels. He was an atheist which brought about the idea that humans are just part of nature and must solve their own problems without the intervention of a higher being. This notion is evident with the protagonist of The Red Badge of Courage. Henry Fleming, a young union soldier in the Civil War, must overcome the fear of putting his life at risk to achieve what he wants most which is honor. Honor comes from actively participating in battle and sacrificing his life for the cause. Honor is physically represented from a wound noted as the “Red Badge”. In the end Henry doesn’t consult in a higher being and achieves what he wants most by overcoming the mental obstacles and ultimately finding the strength within to realize what courage actually is. Accompanied by the literary movements and his religion, his time period was heavily influenced by the
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