«The Red Badge of Courage» Essay Example

“The Red Badge of Courage” essay

Stephen Crane laid the path to naturalism in American prose and has remained the largest representative of this trend in the history of US literature. If you don’t like books about war, you are probably suffering from an assignment that asks you to analyze “The Red Badge of Courage.” Don’t want to spend hours of reading a book that you don’t like? Check an already written essay sample and life will become easy! The best way to write a good book analysis is to read some good samples on a similar topic. Also, you can check other literature essays in order to understand the structure and how authors approach a particular assignment.

Do you agree that the last passage of the novel The Red Badge of Courage shows Henry Fleming’s maturation, or does he remain vain and superficial?

Maturity is apparently a subjective matter which makes it a very challenging topic to ponder on. Nevertheless, maturity in one way or another is a state where one person reaches a certain growth whether physical or emotional or even mental and spiritual.

There is no definite time or occurrence when or where one will reach maturity. The same is true for Henry Flemming but I agree that he reached his matured state in the last passage of the novel. Although there are quite a lot of debates around whether he remained vain and superficial or transformed into a man, I find these arguments very much helpful to my conclusion:

Firstly, the author of the novel, The Red Badge of Courage, refers to Henry as The Youth in the entirety of the piece. However, he referred Henry as a man in the latter part of the novel:

“He knew that he would no more quail before his guides wherever they should point. He had been to touch the great death, and found that, after all, it was but the great death. He was a man” (Crane 148).

Hence, this is I believe a good argument that he reached maturation at that very moment. My take in this factor is that the author, Stephen Crane, emphasizes how vain and shallow Henry was in the beginning of the plot by referring him as The Youth. Calling Henry a man on the last passage makes it more arguable that he is realizing his superficial self and maturing already.

Additionally, when one is already realizing and pondering on things, this is definitely a certain time that one learns from his actions and deeds. Hence, maturation begins and takes place considering Henry’s changed perspectives and notions about the war.

Henry Flemming is not different from any of us today. While he is portrayed as a boy who always gets lost in between his thoughts about the imagery and reality of the war, people of today are no different at all.
We all face different kinds of war on our own and it is in no doubt that we all get lost in between the realities and fantasies of our own ordeals. But once we come across a real dilemma somewhere in the middle, this is where the process of maturity comes in.

In my own definition of empowerment, I believe it is the capability of making and executing a decision and a choice – and Henry made a choice. Whether it is a good or a bad one, we have our own understanding of bad and good. Nevertheless, making a choice is a great sign of maturity.

Works Cited

Blair, Elizabeth. “Henry Fleming, Reluctantly Wearing ‘The Red Badge.”NPR, NPR, 20 July 2008, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92469448

Crane, Stephen. Edited by Laurie Skiba, Access ed., www.emcp.com/previews/AccessEditions/ACCESS%20EDITIONS/The%20Red%20Badge%20of%20Courage.pdf.


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