Irony in the Red Badge of Courage

Decent Essays

Irony in The Red Badge of Courage Written by Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage is a novel filled with irony. This story is written in the point of view of the main character, Henry Fleming, and tells about his maturation through the war. Including the title, from the beginning to the end of the book there is irony present. The use of irony by Crane helps create a lot of discussion for critics. Henry’s internal debate is a main source of irony in this novel. Also, his fantasy of how he thought war was going to be and how it turned out is ironic.
“The Youth,” which Henry is referred to as, dreamt of glory in battle and being a hero (Crane 2). That is the reason why Henry enlisted himself; even though he told his comrades he was forced to be in the army. His mother’s farewell speech is ironic because he thought that she would give him a tearful and long speech, but all she really said was to “Watch out, and be a good boy” (4). She does not want Henry to be a hero even though that is what he went to war for. She told Henry that she will be fine if he does not return home. Henry tries to pull off being a confident and good soldier, while in the reality he is very nervous about what will happen in battle. Throughout the novel, he questions his courage and if he would run from battle. At an early battle, Henry continuously fires at the enemy line and feels like he is a courageous soldier. However, soon after this battle, another one erupts and Henry runs from it. This is

Get Access