Wilson is a new volunteer and Henry's closest friend in the regiment. He begins as a brash and confident soldier, but by the start of the first battle Wilson is deeply afraid that he'll die. Because of the narrator's limited point of view, Wilson disappears from the story while Henry is away from his regiment, but he too matures through personal conflicts. From being a "loud young soldier," Wilson becomes a quiet, generous, and reflective man. Like Henry, Wilson eventually fights fiercely, selflessly, and well. In the novel, Wilson serves as a reflection of Henry. His differences from Henry add perspective to Henry's character and experience.
The The Red Badge of Courage quotes below are all either spoken by Wilson (the loud young soldier, the youth's friend) or refer to Wilson (the loud young soldier, the youth's friend). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Red Badge of Courage published in 2005.).
Chapter 14 Quotes
The youth took note of a remarkable change in his comrade ... He seemed no more to be continually regarding the proportions of his personal prowess. He was not furious at small words that pricked his conceits. He was no more a loud young soldier. There was about him now a fine reliance. He showed a quiet belief in his purposes and his abilities.
Chapter 23 Quotes
The youth's friend went over the obstruction in a tumbling heap and sprang at the flag as a panther at prey. He pulled at it and, wrenching it free, swung up its red brilliancy with a mad cry of exultation even as the color bearer, gasping, lurched over in a final throe and, stiffening convulsively, turned his dead face to the ground.
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Explanation and Analysis:
The timeline below shows where the character Wilson (the loud young soldier, the youth's friend) appears in The Red Badge of Courage. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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... (full context)
...drums, and shrill officers help stir the sleepy camp to life. Among the grumbling soldiers, Wilson tends the fire. When Wilson adjusts Henry's bandage, Henry lashes out in irritation, and Wilson... (full context)
...they soon falter, huddling together like dazed sheep. The lieutenant screams to get them moving. Wilson fires a shot into the woods, snapping the soldiers out of their trance. The regiment... (full context)