The Red Badge of Courage

Describe how crane uses nature and religious imagery

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When Henry stumbles away from battle, afraid and ashamed, he retreats into the peaceful cathedral of Nature and convinces himself that Nature is calm, motherly, and most importantly, on his side. He is rapidly disabused of this notion when he sees a disgusting corpse decaying in the forest. Nature is neither on man’s side or against him – it is completely indifferent, able to offer both succor and strife. Henry is frightened by this concept at first, but it soon gives him a sense of freedom and autonomy. He sheds most of his superstitions and does not particularly embrace religion; thus, while Nature and God might be indifferent, he is the shaper of his own life. He makes decisions and controls his fate to the extent that he can. As for religion, Jim Conklin (note the initials) becomes a Christ-figure who helps redeem Henry through his pain and death.