Red Badge of Courage Essay: Isolation

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Isolation in The Red Badge of Courage

Stephen Crane's literary technique has long been a matter of analysis and speculation. In The Red Badge of Courage Crane takes us into the life of a young man named Henry Fleming, who wants to enlist in the Army and fight in the war against the South. By using irony, similes, and symbols, Crane "paints" a vivid picture of what life was like for the fragile Henry Fleming. He opens our eyes to the vast reasons of separation for Fleming, and why he lived his life so independently. The precarious, vulnerable, and insecure Henry Fleming was isolated from more than just his family and his regiment; he was isolated from himself.

As the narrative, The Red Badge of Courage, opens, Henry
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Thus revealing the first isolation in Henry Fleming's life.

During war, a soldier's most important support system is his/her regiment. This is a support system that Henry has, then loses throughout this time period in his life. All through the war Henry questions his courage and bravery. He wonders if he will turn and run when death is looking him in the eyes, or if he will decide to stay and do what he came to do; prove that he is a man and can handle even death itself. During battle several soldiers are wounded earning their "red badge of courage" and Henry's confident, Jim Conklin, dies. Here is where Henry's second isolation, the isolation from his regiment, occurs. The soldiers in the regiment feel a certain pride and respectability from earning their "red badge." Henry didn't earn this sense of pride and respectability because of the abandonment of his fellow soldiers. He felt that his assumption was clearly rectified- he was a coward. Henry Fleming seemed to become the virtuoso of separation, individualism, and isolation. The tension is eased after he mistakenly "earns" his "red badge" from a friend.

The internal fears that haunt Henry are mostly created by himself. He is apprehensive of the reaction he will have towards any stimulus thrown out at him, therefore creating a fear that
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