The Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Henry stumbles toward the campfire of his regiment, concerned about being exposed for a coward, but helpless to do anything else. The guard on duty orders him to halt. It's Wilson, who is happy to see him.
Though we was terrified of death, Wilson apparently stayed with his regiment through the fight. Wilson never seems to suspect Henry of running away.
Themes
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
Henry stammers out a story: separated from the regiment, he saw terrible fighting and got shot in the head. The regiment's corporal comes over to check him out. They presumed Henry was dead, but of the 42 men missing that day, many soldiers have wandered back to find their camp.
Henry lies to make himself seem courageous, rather than a victim of friendly fire. The corporal's report implies that, like Henry, many other soldiers ran away from battle only to wander back later.
Themes
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
The corporal inspects Henry's wound and concludes that he's been grazed by a bullet, finding "a queer lump jest as if some feller had lammed yeh on th' head with a club." Wilson bandages Henry's head and admires his tough attitude in returning to camp because "[a] shot in th' head ain't foolin' business." Henry fidgets nervously.
Though the evidence points to Henry's lump being exactly what it is—the result of a smack on the head—everyone believes his lie. Henry is uncomfortable with Wilson's praise because he knows he doesn't really deserve it.
Themes
Courage Theme Icon
Some soldiers are pale and exhausted around the fire. Others have sunk into "death-like" sleep. Wilson gently cares for Henry, arranging his own blankets for Henry to sleep on. Henry falls gratefully asleep and "in a moment was like his comrades."
Wilson's generous acts show he has matured. Henry has rejoined his regiment, his community, but it's a community of death. Henry's reunion with his men is ambiguous, not glorious..
Themes
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
Noise and Silence Theme Icon
The Living and the Dead Theme Icon
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