Red Badge of Courage Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jkmurr13
Words 935
Pages 4
The Red Badge of Courage is more appropriately labeled a realist novel, despite some of its romantic overtones. For example, a classic feature of the romantic novel involves the protagonist traveling through the forest and allowing the majesty of the woods to take them on journeys to incredible realizations. But under the circumstances of war, as portrayed in in this novel, and the mental state of our main character Henry, these magical rhapsodies in the forest have a strong foundation in realism. When he flees from battle in an act of fear, he experiences romantic moments in the forest as a mental escape from reality. Being in a war can put one in high adrenaline situations, so when one has time to oneself, the mind can begin to play tricks. When Henry encounters a squirrel in the forest, he throws a rock at it and sees it run away from the rock. Instead of taking this for what most of us would take it as, a squirrel simply running away from a rock, Henry makes the romantic observation that “He did not stand stolidly baring his furry belly to the missile, and die with an upward glance at the sympathetic heavens.” As Henry comes to this realization it has meaning to him because he can one; use it to justify his flight from battle, and two; his mind takes him to a place where this very natural occurrence can impact his life and his views on battle. The author uses Henry Flemings romantic perceptions of nature to demonstrate how this character’s romantic personality shapes his behavior and decision-making. Many of the scenes that could be viewed as romantic on the surface, are used to define the characters and the true aspects of a war and its effects on those involved. Through reading this story there are, without doubt, moments of pure romanticism, but they are again, primarily in the mind of the main character: as when Henry finds himself looking at the “…...

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