The Red Badge of Courage

What does the youth do in the forest that helps reassure him that he made the right decision in running?

In chapters 7-12

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The guilt of having run away overwhelms Henry. He plods along, his brain in a fit of agony and despair. He goes into a thick wood, trying to hide himself. The underbrush is thick, and he travels slowly. He keeps moving forward into the darkness. Soon the sound of the guns grows faint. He notices more things of the forest – the sun, insects, and birds. Nature seems to not hear the rumble of death.

Henry is relieved and relaxed by the landscape. It carries a sense of peace. He throws a pinecone at a squirrel, which runs away in fear. This also settles Henry's mind. The squirrel did not stand still in front of the thrown object; like him, it ran away, trying to preserve itself.