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Red Badge of Courage

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Leanne Cooke

English 3

Coach Mitzi

February 19, 2002


1. Discuss the novel as a psychological journey. Discuss how Henry Changes throughout the novel. What causes him to change? Henry Fleming is a young solider fighting for the union army during the civil war. Throughout the war Henry ventures on a long psychological journey to discover himself. Often referred to as "the youth" Henry comes into battle with the naпve fantasies of being a war hero with out ever having faced a single battle, making him extremely self centered and vein. His desires to be heroic are far from noble but are based solely on the desire to be accepted and admired by men. He is motivated only by the idea of being immortalized among men and really holds no sense of right and wrong. Many times he justifies his coward ness by saying that the other men are not "wise enough to save themselves from the flurry of death." And somehow restores his own self pride. He convinces himself every time that his lies are truth. But mid way through the novel Henry finally faces battle and the turning point of the novel occurs, because Henry fights, he no longer cares about himself but is part of the bigger picture he is a vital part of the "fighting machine". As Henry forgets about the immature fantasies of a reputation he begins to earn one and quite a good one. Many of the officers are even offering their compliments and praise. Henry's character comes full circle when he let go of his earlier mistakes and abandons the hope of a great heroism and trades it all for the more gratifying understanding of what it is to be a man.

2. Discuss the religious imagery in the novel. How does Crane's background influence his opinon What point is he making? The is tons of religious imagery. The most obvious is Jim being portrayed as Jesus Christ his initials are even JC and in his death he even depicts him with the "piercing" on his side and his blood covered hands. Crane was probably most influenced by his father who was a Methodist minister.

3. How is the novel an example of Realism? Give specific ezamples that show the novel as a realistic novel. What descriptions of battle make the novel realistic? By definition

realism is, "understanding of nature of real life: a practical understanding and acceptance of the actual nature of the world, rather than an idealized or romantic view of it". The novel is an example of realism through its realistic perspective of many issues and it's graphic portrayal of battle. We see this time and time again for example,

" The little flames of rifles leaped from [the clump of trees]. The song of the bullets was in the air and shells snarled among the tree-tops. One tumbled directly into the middle of a hurrying group and exploded in crimson fury. There was an instant's spectacle of a man, almost over it, throwing up hands to shield his eyes. Other men, punched by bullets, fell in grotesque agonies. The regiment left a coherent trail of bodies." (135)

and again when he says, " The orderly sergeant of the youth's company was shot through the cheeks. Its supports being injured, his jaw hung afar down, disclosing in the wide cavern of his mouth a pulsing mass of blood and teeth. And with it all he made attempts to cry out. In his endeavor there was a dreadful earnestness, as if he conceived that one great shriek would make him well." (160)

4. How is the novel an example of Naturalism? Define naturalism. Give examples from the novel that make it naturalistic. The dictionary refers to naturalism as, "a movement or school advocating factual or realistic description of life including its less pleasant aspects." Naturalism portrays man in his most animalistic characteristics the instincts we use for survival. Constantly though out the novel Crane makes references to how man is like an animal. For example when he says that Henry is like a "proverbial dead chicken" or when the armies "roar" or when Henry "fights like a wild cat" all examples of humans using their animal like instincts which makes this novel an example of naturalism.

5. Define Impressionism. How is the novel an example of Impressionistic writing?

By definition it is the concentration on the general tone and affect of a subject. This novel is an example of this because we see only what Henry sees we are painted a general picture only by Henry's view on war and the impressions that he gets we are not given an details but rather just enough to leave an impression and to understand.

6. Discuss Crane's background including the writing of The Red Badge of Courage.

Crane was born into a family of 14 other children and the son of a Methodist preacher. He grew up in New Jersey were he had a pretty normal childhood except for the death of his father, 1 sister and one brother. At 17 when to military school. His hobbies were baseball, poker, and swearing. Learned about being a soldier and got others opinions. Then spent a year at Lafayette College and one a Syracuse University. Here he enjoyed football as well. His first book was Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. The Red Badge of Courage was written in order to win a bet he made that he could write a book in ten days on a subject he had no first hand experience with. (he won that bet)

7. Discuss Crane's use of nature. Specifically discuss how nature responds to Jim Conklin's death and the response of nature after the battle. Each time nature appears in the novel it displays an attitude of indifference to anything to do with human affairs. Specifically after Jim's death when Henry is making a speech he is interrupted by a description of the uncaring sun "pasted in the sky like a wafer." (74) After his first encounter with battle he notes nature by saying "that nature had gone tranquilly on with her golden process in the midst of so much devilment." (47) And we are again remind of natures uncaring attitude on (127) " A cloud of dark smoke, as from smoldering ruins, went up toward the sun now bright and gay in the blue, enameled sky." Over and over we are reminded of how nature does not concern itself with the affairs of man.

8. Discuss the historical accuracy of the novel. What battle is it based on? What hints does Crane give where the reader knows which battle the novel is about? Crane's objective when writing this book was not



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