The Red Badge of Courage

The Tattered Man Symbol Analysis

The Tattered Man Symbol Icon
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 dealing with his conflicted feelings: when the tattered man needs help, Henry abandons him, just as he wishes to abandon his own guilt.

The Tattered Man Quotes in The Red Badge of Courage

The The Red Badge of Courage quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Tattered Man. 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:
Courage Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The Red Badge of Courage published in 2005.
Chapter 9 Quotes
Because of the tattered soldier's question he now felt that his shame could be viewed. He was continually casting sidelong glances to see if the men were contemplating the letters of guilt he felt burned into his brow.
Related Characters: Henry Fleming (the youth), Tattered man
Related Symbols: The Tattered Man
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes
The simple questions of the tattered man had been knife thrusts to him. They asserted a society that probes pitilessly at secrets until all is apparent. ... [H]is crime ... was sure to be brought plain by one of those arrows which cloud the air and are constantly pricking, discovering, proclaiming those things which are willed to be forever hidden.
Related Characters: Henry Fleming (the youth), Tattered man
Related Symbols: Wounds, The Tattered Man
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Tattered Man Symbol Timeline in The Red Badge of Courage

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Tattered Man appears in The Red Badge of Courage. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
The Living and the Dead Theme Icon
Walking along, Henry is approached by a dirty, tattered man with two wounds in his head and arm. The tattered man tries to strike up... (full context)
Chapter 9
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
Henry tries to blend in with the wounded soldiers. But after the tattered man 's questions, he feels like they can perceive his guilt. He starts to envy their... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
The Living and the Dead Theme Icon
...into the fields. Henry is terrified by the sight and chases after Jim with the tattered man . When Jim eventually stops, he stands motionless, demanding to be left alone. His body... (full context)
Chapter 10
Courage Theme Icon
The Living and the Dead Theme Icon
The tattered man is awed by Jim's strength and by his strange death. He then admits to Henry... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
The Living and the Dead Theme Icon
The tattered man tells Henry how he got shot in the head without even knowing it. He then... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
Henry resolves to leave the tattered man and tells him goodbye, even though he knows the tattered man will probably die without... (full context)
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
The Living and the Dead Theme Icon
Henry leaves, abandoning the tattered man to wander in the field. Now Henry envies the corpses of dead soldiers. He wishes... (full context)
Chapter 24
Courage Theme Icon
Youth and Manhood Theme Icon
The Living and the Dead Theme Icon
Henry then remembers the tattered man and cringes. As the regiment chats about their victory, Henry is sad and silent, worried... (full context)