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The Red Badge of Courage Summary
Stephen Crane

Everything you need to understand or teach The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.

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The Red Badge of Courage Summary


Stephen Crane's internationally acclaimed work, The Red Badge of Courage, was published in 1895. Unique in style and content, the novel explores the emotions of a young Civil War recruit named Henry Fleming. What is most remarkable about this classic is that the twenty-four-year-old author had never witnessed war in his life before writing this book. Crane's story developed to some degree out of his reading of war stories by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy and the popular memoirs of Civil War veterans, yet he also deviated from these influences in his depiction of war's horror. Critics have noted that his portrait of war is an intensely psychological one, blending elements of naturalism, impressionism, and symbolism. Indeed, he broke away from his American realist contemporaries, including his mentor William Dean Howells, in his naturalistic treatment of man as an amoral creature in a deterministic world.

For this reason, critical reactions to...

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