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One of the great questions presented at the close of the novel is just how far Henry has come. Is he really a "man"? Is he a hero? Has he grown up, matured, attained wisdom? Critics and readers have been debating this for years without definitively arriving at an answer. That fact, of course, is what makes Crane's novel so fantastic – it provides endless fodder for debate and discussion and avoids an easy or pat conclusion.
Critics who believe Henry Fleming is now a man and understands himself and his place within the world point to several events in these final chapters to support their claim. They note that he rescued the colors in the first part of the second battle and, with Wilson, captured the Rebel flag in the second part. When his fellow troops lagged and even Wilson evinced fear and doubt, Henry rallied them and urged them on. Henry seems to understand that war is not a monster but just a fact. His actions were heroic, no matter their initial motivations.