"The Red Badge Courage" Book Synopsis (2023)


Stephen Crane's classic novel is set during the Chancellorsville Campaign and this video uses quotes from the book to create a cinematic retelling of the story and its Civil War themes.To learn more about CVBT's Virtual Fundraiser, please visit: bit.ly/CVBTRedBadgeofCourage


The cold passed reluctantly from the earth and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills.

Resting as the landscape changed from brown to green the army awakened and began to tremble with eagerness at the noise of rumors.

It cast its eyes upon the roads, which were growing from long troughs of liquid mud to proper thoroughfares, a river amber tinted in the shadow of its banks, hurled at the army's feet.

And at night, when the stream had become a sorrowful blackness, one could see across it.

The red, I like gleam of hostile campfires set in the low brows of distant hills.

The opening lines of stephen crane's, classic novel, the red badge of courage are firmly rooted in the dirt and grass of central virginia published in serial form in 1894.

And as a novel, the following year, the fictional story unfolds during the spring of 1863 and the chantersville campaign as the opening scene continues federal soldiers argue about the rumors for the army of the potomac's next movement.

This has a profound effect on one young soldier, henry fleming.

He tried to mathematically prove to himself that he would not run from a battle previously.

He had never felt obliged to wrestle too seriously with this question in his life, he had taken certain things for granted, never challenging his belief in ultimate success and bothering little about means and roads.

But here he was confronted with a thing of the moment.

It had suddenly appeared to him that perhaps in a battle, he might run.

He was forced to admit that as far as war was concerned.

He knew nothing of himself as the campaign march begins.

Henry spends a lot of time, observing his fellow soldiers in the regiment and pondering how he will react when he is in battle for the first time soon, the regiment moves towards the sound of the guns after a time.

The brigade was halted in the cathedral, light of a forest.

The busy skirmishers were still popping through the isles of the wood could be seen the floating smoke from their rifles.

During this halt.

Many men in the regiment, began erecting, tiny hills in front of them.

They used stones sticks earth and anything they thought might turn a bullet.

The regiment is moved from the shelter of their temporary trench and enters combat for the first time.

Henry sees some of his comrades fall dead or wounded.

He develops a fiery anger.

Realizing war is not the glory.

He once thought it was and fearing that he has been sent out to be killed in the second attack.

Henry's resolve breaks directly.

He began to speed toward the rear in great leaps, his rifle and cap were gone.

His unbuttoned coat bulged in the wind, the flap of his cartridge box bobbed wildly in his canteen by a slender cord swung out behind on his face was the horror of those things which he imagined.

He ran like a blind man since he had turned his back upon the fight.

His fears had been wondrously magnified death about to thrust him between the shoulder blades was far more dreadful than death about to smite him between the eyes after henry flees from his regiment's battle line.

He has a series of encounters with ghostly corpse, wounded soldiers on the road and officers who say that his regiment did not flee under fire after witnessing, the death of one of his close friends, henry begins to regret his flight while still making attempts to justify that.

He has lived to fight another day, the youth cringed as if discovered in a crime by heavens, they had won after all.

He turned away amazed and angry.

He felt that he had been wronged.

He went from the fields into a thick wood as if resolved to bury himself.

He wished to get out of hearing of the cracking shots, which were to him like voices at times.

He regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way.

He wished that he too had a wound a red badge of courage later in the evening as henry tries to confront another unit of fleeing soldiers.

He is struck on the head and finally gets a wound with this injury as his cover excuse.

He decides to return to his regiment, arriving late in the night and welcome back without suspicions of cowardice.

The following morning, henry gets ready for another day of battle, but approaches the coming experience, the different perspective and a new determination.

He did not give a great deal of thought to these battles that lay directly before him.

It was not essential that he should plan his ways in regard to them.

He could leave much to chance besides a faith in himself had secretly blossomed.

There was a little flower of confidence growing within him.

He was now a man of experience henry's and new resolves are quickly put to the test.

And he fights with a barbaric fierceness earning the admiration of his officer and fellow soldiers by chance, henry overhears, a general ordering his regiment to attack in a desperate nearly suicidal charge.

Faced with the knowledge and choice.

Henry already offended that the general's insulting nickname for his unit, decides they must succeed and prove their courage.

He takes a prominent part in rallying and leading the regiment.

And in the midst of the charge henry is inspired by the regimental flag within him as he hurled himself forward was born a love, a despairing fondness for this flag, which was near him.

It was a creation of beauty and invulnerability.

It was a goddess radiant that bended its form with an imperious gesture to him.

It was a woman red and white hating and loving that called him with the voice of his hopes because no harm could come to it.

He endowed it with power.

He kept near as if it could be a saver of lives.

And an imploring cry went from his mind in the mad scramble.

He was aware that the color, sergeant flinched.

Suddenly, as if struck by a blungeon, he faltered and then became motionless, save for his quivering knee.

He made a spring and clutched at the pole, the youth and his friend had a small scuffle over the flag, give it to me, no, let me keep it.

Each felt satisfied with the other's possession of it.

But each felt bound to declare by an offer to carry the emblem his willingness to further risk himself the youth, roughly pushed his friend away.

He saw that to be firm soldiers.

They must go forward.

It would be death to stay in the present place.

The youth kept the bright colors to the front.

He was waving his free arm in furious, circles, all the while shrieking mad calls and appeals urging on those that did not need to be urged for it seemed that the mob of blue men hurling themselves on the dangerous group of rifles were again, grown suddenly wild with an enthusiasm of unselfishness after moving from cowardice to courage and experience to veteran and panic philosophy to passionate inspiration.

Henry fleming discovers that he has proved himself and crossed the threshold from youth to manhood as the union army retreats in the rain.

He begins to forgive himself for running realizes that he has redeemed himself and leads the field of battle changed forever.

He felt a quiet manhood non-assertive, but of sturdy and strong blood.

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.

And so it came to pass that as he trudged from the place of blood and wrath.

His soul changed.

He came from hot plowshares to prospects of clover tranquilly.

And it was as if hot plowshares were not scars, faded as flowers it rained.

The procession of weary soldiers became a bedraggled train despondent and muttering marching with churning effect in a trough of liquid brown mud under a low wretched sky.

Yet, the youth smiled for he saw that the world was a world for him, though, many discovered it to be made of oaths and walking sticks.

He had rid himself of the red sickness of battle.

The sultry nightmare was in the past.

He had been an animal blistered and sweating in the heat and pain of war.

He turned now with a lover's thirst to images of tranquil skies, fresh meadows, cool brooks, an existence of soft and eternal peace over the river.

A golden ray of sun came through the hosts of leaden rainclouds.


What is the message in the red badge of courage? ›

Metaphorically, the red badge signals courageousness. Henry wishes he could have one because it would prove that he was brave rather than cowardly enough to run away from a battle. Happily, Henry is able to become courageous by fighting in two battles without ever being wounded.

What is the book The Red Badge of Courage about? ›

Book details

Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound, a "red badge of courage," to counteract his cowardice.

How many pages is red badge of courage? ›

Product information
Publisher‎Empire Books (December 23, 2011)
Paperback146 pages
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What battle is red badge of courage based on? ›

Crane most likely based The Red Badge of Courage on one of the bloodiest struggles in the Civil War, the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.

Who kills Henry at the end of the novel? ›

Who kills Henry at the end of the novel? Henry does not die in the book. Which is not a theme that is present in The Red Badge of Courage? War is not a fair way to test a man's courage.

What does the dead soldier symbolize in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

The Dead Soldier

However, there are a few noteworthy symbols in the novel. One of these is the dead soldier, who represents the insignificance of mortal concerns.

How did Red Badge of Courage end summary? ›

Answer and Explanation: The Red Badge of Courage ends with Henry Fleming finally sating his desire for adventure. In the final clash against the Confederates, he comports himself with dignity and bravery, removing the stain of his past cowardice, at least in his mind. He is now ready to return home.

What is the climax of The Red Badge of Courage? ›

climax Henry Fleming and Wilson lead the 304th Regiment to an unlikely victory over the rebels, seizing the enemy's position and their flag.

What age should read Red Badge of Courage? ›

10 years

How does Henry receive his wound? ›

5. How does Henry receive his wound? He is hit on the head by a Union soldier fleeing from battle.

Is The Red Badge of Courage Based on a true story? ›

The Red Badge of Courage is not a true story. It is fiction, although it was inspired by the events of the American Civil War.

Why did Stephen Crane wrote The Red Badge of Courage? ›

He began writing what would become The Red Badge of Courage in June 1893, while living with his older brother Edmund in Lake View, New Jersey. Crane conceived the story from the point of view of a young private who is at first filled with boyish dreams of the glory of war, only to become disillusioned by war's reality.

What was the lieutenant's name in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

The Lieutenant (Lt. Hasbrouck) The lieutenant leads Henry's company with courage and conviction. He represents the confident Union officers who are always shown as strong leaders.

Who is the main character in Stephen Crane's story about the Civil War? ›

A Typical Civil War Soldier

Using this research, Crane created his protagonist, or main character, of Henry Fleming, a young recruit with the 304th New York Regiment. After signing up for the army with dreams of glory on the battlefield, Henry proves himself a coward when he runs away from battle.

Does Henry survive in the book of Henry? ›

Days later, Henry dies. Susan is distraught at Henry's death and has difficulty functioning, but when Peter gives her the notebook, she focuses on Henry's plan. She tries, unsuccessfully, to interest a nearby social services agency in opening an investigation.

What is Henry afraid of? ›

Henry is overcome with grief at the sight of Jim's condition. Jim recognizes Henry and tells him that he has only one fear — that he may be run over by a battery coming along the road.

Does Henry get kidnapped? ›

However, along the way, Henry meets and falls in love with Cinderella and reunites with Hook and Regina to defeat Belfrey while assisting Tiana. He and Ella marry, having a daughter named Lucy. However, Henry is kidnapped by the Coven of the Eight and poisoned, forcing his mother to cast the Dark Curse.

How does Jim's death affect Henry? ›

Jim's death has a great effect on Henry. When Henry sees his friend dead in the middle of the field, he turns toward the battlefield and curses it. Anger and passion arise in Henry. He mourns the loss of his friend, but he knows why Jim died.

Why does Henry leave the tattered soldier? ›

Henry is ashamed that he did not participate. He is scared that people will ask him questions about his war experiences that will expose his lack of courage. Henry is so upset and ashamed that he leaves the tattered soldier to die just to get away from him.

What is ironic about The Red Badge of Courage that Henry now has? ›

Ironically, the symbolic "red badge" which Henry receives in this chapter isn't a symbol of courage but rather of question, and, what's more, the red badge is delivered, not by an enemy, but by a comrade.

What are the two major conflicts in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

Stephen Crane creates internal struggle for his main protagonist, Henry Fleming, not only for effect, but for character development. Henry's internal conflicts of fear versus courage and what honor means allows the reader to grasp how Henry grows as a person and how he is able to resolve these issues.

What happens to Wilson in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

He undergoes a change in personality, not unlike the transformation our protagonist experiences himself. As Wilson becomes a self-sacrificing friend to Henry, he guides him (the same way Jim did via his death) in regards to what it means to be a man, and what it means to be courageous.

Did Henry get shot in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

Summary: Chapter XIII

Suddenly a loud voice instructs him to halt. Henry recognizes Wilson standing guard. He informs Wilson that he has been shot in the head after being separated from the regiment and fighting with another group.

What is the resolution in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

Answer and Explanation: At the end of The Red Badge of Courage, Henry Fleming's desire for glory is finally sated. He and the other soldiers comport themselves with honor in the final charge, and Henry believes that they have proven their detractors wrong. In particular, Henry is praised for his ferocity in the fight.

What are three themes of The Red Badge of Courage? ›

  • Courage. Given the novel's title, it is no surprise that courage—defining it, desiring it, and, ultimately, achieving it—is the most salient element of the narrative. ...
  • Manhood. ...
  • Self-Preservation. ...
  • The Universe's Disregard for Human Life.

What is Chapter 3 about in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

Chapter Summary

Henry wants to be brave and gain glory through battle in the Civil War, but as he marches, his fear of death and fatigue from marching makes him paranoid that he will soon die. Henry's fear is only stopped when he encounters the signs of battle and death or when he feels safe.

Should a 14 year old read red white and royal blue? ›

I recommend Red, White, & Royal Blue to anyone ages 15 and up, more specifically readers in high school or older. Anyone who is in this age range and enjoys a terrific, well-written enemies-to-lovers romance will absolutely love Red, White, & Royal Blue, and I can't praise it any higher.

What level of reading is the red badge of courage? ›

An Episode of the American Civil War
Interest LevelGrade 6 - Grade 12
Reading LevelGrade 5
GenreYoung Adult
PublisherLerner Publishing Group
BrandFirst Avenue Classics ™
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What grade level is the kid in the red jacket? ›

Product information
Publisher‎Yearling; Reissue edition (August 12, 1988)
Reading age‎8 - 11 years, from customers
Lexile measure‎640L
Grade level3 - 7
Item Weight‎3.6 ounces
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What is ironic about Henry's wound? ›

Henry's wounding is ironic as it in no way involves courageous behavior on his part. Because it happens as a result of a desperate misunderstanding with a comrade and would not have occurred had Henry been in battle, this wounding is a disgrace rather than a source of pride.

What does Henry promise Jim? ›

Jim finds the strength to walk even though he is dying, and a crying Henry promises to take care of him and make sure that he is not abandoned and run over by the army's artillery.

What does Wilson give Henry? ›

Wilson gives Henry his own blankets to bed down for the night. To Henry's credit, he recognizes the change in Wilson. 'He was no more a loud young soldier.

How old was Stephen Crane when he died? ›

VITALE: Stephen Crane died from tuberculosis at a spa in Germany in 1900. He was just 28 years old.

What made Henry suddenly a modest person? ›

What made Henry "suddenly a modest person"? "He had slept and, awakening, had found himself a knight." Explain.

Who is the loud soldier in Red Badge of Courage? ›

The Red Badge of Courage (1951) - Bill Mauldin as Tom Wilson - the Loud Soldier - IMDb.

Is The Red Badge of Courage a metaphor? ›

Beginning with the title, Crane uses a metaphor to describe his feelings about war. The 'red badge of courage' is really the wound that a soldier receives in battle. Even though Crane's character, Henry, glorifies this sign of honor, he soon realizes that a red badge of courage often means pain, horror, and death.

How and why does Crane use irony in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

In Stephen Crane's 'The Red Badge of Courage', the author uses verbal irony to mock the protagonist, Henry Fleming, for his egotistical and immature view of himself as a new soldier in the Union Army during the Civil War.

What is the main idea of Chapter 8 of The Red Badge of Courage? ›

Summary: Chapter VIII

Henry joins the column and a soldier with a bloody head and a dangling arm begins to talk to him. Henry tries to avoid this tattered man, but the wounded soldier continues to talk about the courage and fortitude of the army, exuding pride that his regiment did not flee from the fighting.

What is the meaning of the red badge? ›

The Red Badge of Courage literally is a bloody wound received by soldiers in war. Metaphorically, the red badge signals courageousness. Henry wishes he could have one because it would prove that he was brave rather than cowardly enough to run away from a battle.

Why did Henry fumble with the buttons on his jacket? ›

9. Why did Henry "fumble with the buttons on his jacket"? Henry fumbled "with the buttons on his jacket" since he is nervous because he is lying about the wound on his head.

Who is the tall soldier? ›

Jim Conklin or "the Tall Soldier" is the more experienced and mature soldier, particularly compared to Henry at the outset of the novel. He is confident enough not to brag or to claim that he wouldn't "run" if things got very bad.

Why did Stephen Crane died in Germany? ›

Plagued by financial difficulties and ill health, Crane died of tuberculosis in a Black Forest sanatorium in Germany at the age of 28.

What is the factual meaning of War is Kind by Stephen Crane? ›

In “War is Kind” Crane emphasizes the psychological torment that dying soldiers and their loved ones endure instead of focusing on their heroic or patriotic behavior. He desires to present the world as he sees it rather than the way he wants it to be.

What two memorable characters did Stephen Crane create? ›

The writer depicted the characteristics of two main characters are Mary and Mr. Fleming. In this research, the writer used descriptive analysis. He analyzed the two short stories by reading them intensively and giving hard attention to each paragraph.

How long is the movie The Red Badge of Courage? ›

How many pages are in the book courage? ›

Product information
Hardcover368 pages
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How many pages is a patch of blue? ›

Highly recommended. P.S. It is only a small book, 171 pages, but every page is a treat. The original title of this novel “Be ready with bells and drums” was displaced when it was filmed and became “A patch of blue”.

How many chapters are in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

Answer and Explanation: There are 24 chapters in the American Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage.

Who narrates Red Badge of courage? ›

James Whitmore

How many words are in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

The title of Crane's original, 55,000-word manuscript was "Private Fleming/His various battles", but in order to create the sense of a less traditional Civil War narrative, he ultimately changed the title to The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War.

Is there a sequel to Red Badge of courage? ›

Henry: A Sequel To Stephen Crane's The Red Badge Of Courage is published by Covenant Publishing. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Seton Hall University and his Master's Degree in English Literature and Publishing from Rosemont College.

Where does Red Badge of Courage take place? ›

The U.S. Civil War during the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, over four days in May of 1863. The Red Badge of Courage takes place during an unnamed battle during the Civil War.

Is The Red Badge of Courage a children's book? ›

The Red Badge of Courage (Dover Children's Evergreen Classics) - Kindle edition by Crane, Stephen. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Who is the main character in the book Some Kind of courage? ›

Twelve-year-old Joseph Johnson searches the Northwest frontier for his missing horse and a new family. When first his mother and beloved little sister die of typhoid, and then his father dies in a wagon accident, Joseph is left in the care of a drunkard, his Indian pony, Sarah, his only remaining family.

Why is it called A Patch of Blue? ›

You might wonder why the film is called “A Patch of Blue”. It's simply because the color Selina can remember the most is blue. She remembers the sky is blue. But of course, it sometimes can be grey.

How many words fit on one page of a blue book? ›

The rule of thumb with most publishers is to average about 300 words per page. So a 100, 000- 1 blue book page approximately how many words word novel will run about 300 pages.

How old is Selina in A Patch of Blue? ›

Selina D'Arcey, an 18-year-old girl accidentally blinded by her mother, Rose-Ann, in a family quarrel 13 years ago, lives in a shabby tenement with her prostitute mother and alcoholic grandfather, Ole Pa.

What persuaded Henry to reject his mother's advice and enlist in the army? ›

Henry is so sure about the glory awaiting him in war that he enlists despite his mother's wishes. His romantic vision of war convinces him that he must enlist in the army.

Why did Henry join the army in The Red Badge of Courage? ›

The narrator reveals that Henry joined the army because he was drawn to the glory of military conflict. Since the time he joined, however, the army has merely been waiting for engagement. At last the regiment is given orders to march, and the soldiers spend several weary days traveling on foot.

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