The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage takes place during an unnamed battle during the Civil War. The location of the battle is also never mentioned. Although, the battle wasn’t told, it vividly described the war, and that made The Red Badge of Courage, historical fiction. The main character is Henry Fleming, a young boy who decides to join the army, and he is accompanied by Jim Conklin and Wilson. Fleming meets these soldiers in his regiment and becomes good friends with them. Together they go through the experiences of war and they each change in their own unique way.
The main theme of this book is courage. Fleming joins the army to prove that he is courageous even in the most fearsome situations. Fleming changes throughout the book, at first he is terrified of war, but eventually he is able to face the battle after running away from it. In the novel it states, there was a consciousness always of the presence of his comrades about him. He felt the subtle battle brotherhood more potent even than the cause for which they were fighting. It was a mysterious fraternity born of the smoke and danger of death (37). This shows that at first, Fleming was only able to fight because everyone else was fighting, if he had been there alone he would have been too terrified to fight. After Fleming has experience war the novel states, And, furthermore, how could they kill him who was the chosen of gods and doomed to greatness? This shows that Fleming wants courage, but it will cost him his life.
Another theme of this book is warfare, but it isn’t only the physical aspects of warfare, also the psychological aspects that a solider experiences. Throughout the book it describes how painful life as a soldier was. After a battle the soldiers would simply gather around a fire and go to sleep with a blanket, if they were lucky. Before a real battle, Fleming starts to wonder if he would stay and fight. It had suddenly appeared to him that perhaps in a battle he might run....