Character's Purposes In 'The Red Badge Of Courage'

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Character’s Purposes (Prompt 11) The Red Badge of Courage is filled with creative symbolism and contrasting characters. Three characters have a large significance in the novel. Wilson, the “loud soldier,” Jim Conklin, the “tall soldier,” and the “tattered soldier” create different scenarios that expose the main character’s thoughts and values. The story is told through the mind of Henry who is referred to as the “young soldier” because of his naive actions and his romantic thoughts of death in the war. Henry is not experienced which makes him seem conceited. The author, Stephen Crane, uses the other characters to correctly describe the mental and physical tolls war takes on soldiers. The uses of Wilson, Jim Conklin, and the tattered…show more content…
Wilson’s character demonstrates how battle changes a person. Before the war, Wilson is arrogant and assures Henry that he (Wilson) will certainly stay and fight: “I said I was going to do my share of the fighting—that’s what I said. And I am, too.” After this conversation, Wilson returns to Henry with an envelope that is to be delivered to his family. Wilson’s immaturity is show through his shift in personality from narcissism to vulnerability. After he disappears into battle, Wilson reemerges to nurse Henry after his head wound. Wilson shows a new generosity by offering his blanket and canteen to his fellow wounded soldier: “Put ’im t’ sleep in my blanket, Simpson. An’—hol’ on a minnit—here’s my canteen. It’s full ’a coffee. Look at his head by th’ fire an’ see how it looks. After his experience in war, he is not concerned with keeping his courageous image back at home so, although embarrassed, he asks for the envelope back from Henry. Wilson also becomes mature enough to admit “I was a pretty big fool in those days.” Henry notices this change in his friend. Wilson was a “blatant child… filled with tinsel courage” who climbed to a “peak of wisdom from which he could perceive himself as a very wee thing.” Wilson shows the readers, and Henry, the dramatic emotional change that occurs when a man experiences battle in

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