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The Red Badge of Courage By Stephen Crane Bravery valor boldness intrepidity are all synonyms of the word courage For a man courage is more apprehensive timidity than glorious expectance Something as simple schoolyard brawl can define courage as lucidly as a war of attrition Henry Fleming is racing towards the clarification of his own inner spirit in the throws of the American Civil War Fighting against the rebels Henry has tremendous ambiguity over his moral fiber From a war that gave us the term bite the bullet referring to the use of a bullet in the mouth of a wounded solider in lieu of anesthesia - it is chilling to imagine the thoughts that Henry Fleming battles from within Can a boy become a man define his gallantry and gain his fortitude through the slaughter of another human being Will his greatest fear of being a coward come to pass A lifetime of maturity is gained within hours of hostility between the depths of a young mans fervor Henry Fleming is alone Henry is a youth alone in a war between a nation The inner struggle that he faces cannot be uncovered through his own self-analysis He must and will face the ultimate sacrifice No man knows how he would react in the face of eminent danger comparative to something as gruesome as the Civil War Henry has heard the horror stories and knows that his fate is approaching beyond his control Anger exists within Henry as he sees the bravery exhibited by fellow comrades This courage is illusive to our youthful solider He wonders Where does it lie within me Henry Fleming is caught between the clash of his own courage ness and his desire for self preservation Steve Crane - Clarendon Press 1971 The convictions of the men are forced into submission when a war is in progress - kill or be killed whether
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