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Red Badge of Courage Symbolism


            The Symbolism in a Soldier The story he Red Badge of CourageÖ, by Stephen Crane, was written to reflect the harsh Civil War realities. Crane's style of writing to portray these realities included the technique of symbolism. In this technique, symbols are ahiddenÖ within certain objects throughout the story to help express the theme. There were many symbols in the story, but a few of the important ones were symbolized by the soldiers. Henry, Jim Conklin, and Wilson all symbolized a specific aspect of mankind. In the beginning of the story, Henry is characterized as a shy and timid boy who has been nurtured his whole life by his mother. When Henry develops the motivation to free himself from his nurturing mother and finally become a man, he decides to fight in battle. As soon as Henry enters battle, this motivation to become a man softens to a mere whisper -- Henry is afraid. aHe, too, threw down his gun and fled. There was no shame in his face. He ran like a rabbitÖ. Crane uses Henry's fear to symbolize how a true life person would feel. Not many people can relate to a superhero who can face all fears, but they can relate to a person who shows fear, without shame, in a frightening situation. Inspiringly, Henry finally does face his fear of the harsh realties of battle. In the end, Henry has overcome his fear and shows pride towards his becoming of a man. Another soldier who had a great impact of symbolism was Jim Conklin. To begin with, Jim Conklin's name has symbolism -- his initials are J.C. just like Jesus Christ. Just like Jesus Christ, Jim was the perfect man who taught all the other soldiers to find peace, good, and inspiration inside every one of them. None of the soldiers had any grudge against Jim and visa versa. Even the death of Jim symbolizes the death of Jesus Christ. aHis spare figure was erect; his bloody hands were quietly at his sideÖ. The position standing up with his bloody hands out symbolizes the crucification of Jesus Christ.


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