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Red Badge of Courage Book Report

Essay by   •  September 4, 2010  •  Case Study  •  644 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,887 Views

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Red Badge of Courage

When I first started reading this book I thought why does every one rave about how well it is written so I totally dove into reading it and found many forms of symbolism. The Symbolism in a Soldier The story The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, was written to reflect the harsh Civil War realities. Cranes style of writing to portray these realities included the technique of symbolism. In this technique, symbols are hidden within certain objects throughout the story to help express the theme. There were many symbols in the story, but the soldiers symbolized a few of the important ones. Henry, Jim Conklin, and Wilson all symbolized a specific aspect of mankind. In the beginning of the story, Henry is characterized as a shy and timid boy who has been nurtured his whole life by his mother. When Henry develops the motivation to free himself from his nurturing mother and finally become a man, he decides to fight in battle. As soon as Henry enters battle, this motivation to become a man softens to a mere whisper -- Henry is afraid. He, too, threw down his gun and fled. There was no shame in his face. He ran like a rabbit. Crane uses Henry's fear to symbolize how a true-life person would feel. Not many people can relate to a super hero who can face all fears, but they can relate to a person who shows fear, without shame, in a frightening situation. Inspiringly, Henry finally does face his fear of the harsh realties of battle. In the end, Henry has overcome his fear and shows pride towards his becoming of a man. Another soldier who had a great impact of symbolism was Jim Conklin. To begin with, Jim Conklin's name has symbolism -- his initials are J.C. just like Jesus Christ. Don't ask me how I figured this one out. Just like Jesus Christ, Jim was the perfect man who taught all the other soldiers to find peace, good, and inspiration inside every one of them. None of the soldiers had any grudge against Jim and visa versa. Even the death of Jim symbolizes the death of Jesus Christ. His spare figure was erect; his bloody hands were quietly at his side. The position standing up with his bloody hands out symbolizes the crucification of Jesus Christ. Crane is symbolizing Jim Conklin to be the kind man who wants to help and remain in peace with others. Wilson represents the Chinese philosophy Yin Yang. Yin Yang is a philosophy that deals with exact opposites,

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