The Red Badge of Courage

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The Red Badge of Courage Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jim was wrong: for several days afterwards, the regiment doesn't move. Henry remains nervous about his courage, realizing that an actual battle will be the only way to test it. Henry watches the other soldiers closely, trying to figure out if they are heroes or cowards.
As an adolescent struggling with his self image, Henry constantly tries to see himself through the eyes of others. His frequent comparisons between himself and others are often flawed.
Themes
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
One morning, a colonel appears on horseback with orders, and Henry's regiment marches to join other soldiers in formation. As they walk, the infantrymen boast and argue about the army's strategies, becoming more lighthearted as they go.
In the story, strategies from commanders are often incomplete or only partially overheard. Soldiers argue about them to reclaim some sense of control.
Themes
Courage Theme Icon
The War Machine Theme Icon
A fat soldier breaks out of line to steal a horse from a nearby house. A young girl rushes out to fight him off, and the regiment is distracted in cheering for her.
An example of what Henry's mother might say is a soldier disgracing himself. Will these men really become heroes?
Themes
Courage Theme Icon
After a long march, the soldiers make camp. Henry feels homesick and isolated from the others. He meets a friend, the loud soldier Wilson, and asks him if he would run from battle. Of course not, Wilson replies, and leaves Henry alone, feeling worse than ever.
Wilson's apparent bravery probably overcompensates for his own worries. But it shuts up Henry: his questioning takes place inside his head for the rest of the novel.
Themes
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
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