The Red Badge Of Courage Henry Character Analysis

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In literature and life, exile is the common punishment or circumstance of removal from one’s original home or place of origin. In The Red Badge of Courage soldier Henry Fleming learns about himself through his time serving in the military during the American Civil War. During this time, Henry is unable to return home and is forced to ask and answer his questions on the concept of bravery and whether or not he would be adequately brave to face the challenges ahead. The element of exile in the novel causes Henry to grow rapidly as a person both in his dislike of combat and in his humility. The beginning of the novel shows a lull in the war trail, and there Henry flashes back to his departure from home, from his burning passion for enlistment to his goodbyes with his mother. This establishes that Henry is leaving an established home for danger and excitement, but once Henry’s regiment has to camp in one place for a long time with no combat, Henry begins to worry that he will run when battle comes. Before his service, Henry is very enthusiastic about fighting in the military, but, once he is…show more content…
Some argue that on the battlefield he was humbled and able to realize his own mortality and see the flaws of his younger self’s mindset in believing that he was not able to be killed and that he would be fine regardless of those around him. Others argue that when Henry decides he is through with his service he once again finds himself invincible when he is out of combat. The novel seems to subscribe to an idea in the middle. Evidence in the ending of the novel suggests that Henry may feel stronger and less vulnerable, but at the same time that Henry’s service has given him a better point of view on his egotistical younger self and of his own mortality, suggesting he could, “look back upon the brass and bombast of his previous gospels and see them truly,” as a way to better

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