The Red Badge of Courage


Stephen Crane

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The Red Badge of Courage Symbols


Henry is fascinated with corpses in his search for answers about courage, glory, and self-sacrifice. He had initially believed that a glorious death would give him everlasting fame. But in the war, he sees corpses… (read full symbol analysis)


For Henry, wounds are a "red badge of courage" to show off like a Purple Heart medal—the modern military award given to soldiers wounded in combat. Henry wants a wound to prove that he… (read full symbol analysis)

The Tattered Man

A living symbol, the tattered man represents Henry's own conscience projected onto someone else. The tattered soldier embodies Henry's feelings of guilt and shame for fleeing battle. He also exposes Henry's juvenile ways of… (read full symbol analysis)


By definition, flags are symbols of something else, such as a state or country. In Red Badge, battle flags symbolize the opposing armies. More importantly, they represent a soldier's need to believe in his… (read full symbol analysis)