Monday, April 1, 2013

The Red Badge of Courage: What is the argument?

Rhetoric Stage: Is there an argument in this book? Is this book true?  Do you agree?

            Stephen Crane makes the argument that the Youth, as Henry is most often referred, has a warped view of honor, glory, courage, war, life, death, and manhood.  He does not necessarily understand this until after several disgraceful situations in which he admits he acted shamefully.   He appears to accept his mistakes, as he calls them, in order to either be able live with himself or because he knows the way to manhood is filled with correction.

Calico Ghost Town, CA - 2013 Civil War Re-Enactment
            Some critics say Crane does not make it clear if Henry does change because he is still the same from the beginning: self-delusional.  But my first inclination was that he changed in so far as he realized he was foolish in his estimation of achieving manhood, and he accepted that the process would involve mistakes and amendments.  I still think there is an obvious change in maturity in Henry at the end, and I do believe that he is on his way to reaching manhood.  I believe he demonstrates that it takes a real man to admit when he is wrong.

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