The Red Badge of Courage
Self-Deception: An Analysis of Chapter Six in The Red Badge of Courage
In chapter six of Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, protagonist Henry Fleming flees from battle in a panic. When, in the next chapter, he hears that the remaining members of his regiment defeated the enemy without his assistance, he suddenly feels resentful. As is demonstrative of his self-deceiving ways, Henry avoids his latent feelings of shame and inadequacy by reassuring himself that their actions were foolish, as any sensible man would be chiefly motivated by self-preservation, and thus would run. In an effort to escape the chaos of fighting, Henry walks into the forest, engrossed by his thoughts. Amidst the comfort of nature, he throws a pinecone at a nearby squirrel, and it in turn scampers away. Henry interprets the squirrel's reaction as proof of man's instinct to survive regardless of the circumstances. Soon afterward, he wanders into a chapel-like forest grove, within which he discovers the corpse of a soldier in a blue uniform. Henry stares at the body, his eyes unwillingly fixed on the hideous site, and then stumbles out of the clearing in horror.
As a whole, the instances of direct and indirect characterization in conjunction with metaphor and symbol allow the reader to gain insight into...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 775 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5270 literature essays, 1584 sample college application essays, 204 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in