The Red Badge of Courage

Fragmentation in the Realist Novels of Stowe and Crane College

As Albert Camus once said, ‘You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.’[1] If ‘order’ within life means a structure that can bring meaning, ‘fragmentation’ deems life’s occurrences, whether fortunate or unfortunate, as arbitrary and therefore meaningless. Through being constructs of language, events within novels are nearly always significant. This element distinguishes the realist novel from reality, as loss and suffering without greater meaning are unavoidable in true life experiences, implying an inevitable fragmentation within society. Camus’ reality exists around the notion that in looking for order, you miss the very meaning in random events. From this premise, the novel exists as a ‘myth’ of happiness that ‘holds together’ a fragmented society through the possibility that random events can be sequenced, consequently revealing the meaningful within the meaningless. Yet as a reflection of the actual, the fragments of society can only be held together within the framework of the novel, and not in actuality. Life, either in reality or represented in a novel, can only be ordered completely through following a pre-ordained path. Throughout Stowe and Crane’s novels, order is not controlled by inexplicable...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 931 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7480 literature essays, 2115 sample college application essays, 310 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.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in