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Subsequent analyses, including the previous section of this project, have suggested that Crane drew on both literary and pictorial sources in the writing of Red Badge: O' Sullivan; paintings by Winslow Homer and others--has gone largely unremarked.
Crane's "battle pictures" of the Civil War debunk the narrative strategies of popular fiction of his day--chivalric historical romances, popular war novels with domestic subplots, veterans' martial memoirs. With a minimum of a linking narrative, Crane's vivid images of Henry's initiation into war question assumptions about the War's significance which prevailed in the Gilded Age.
Red Badge is only one instance of the rhetoric of the decade which recalled Americans to the "heroism of the civil War generation" Lears, Red Badge appeared in a time when fraternal meetings between Blue and Gray veterans celebrated each others' heroics and reinterpreted Civil War battles as a way to transcend conflict rather than discuss politics.
Postreconstruction period military histories and domestic fiction "excised political conflict from the collective memory of the war" Kaplan, Social conflict--urban unrest, labor strikes--could be temporarily submerged in the veterans' rhetoric of national unity.
Internal conflicts were rewritten as a celebration of mutual American manhood and then refocused on imperialistic external conflict--the Philippines, the Spanish-American War, etc. Contemporaneous with these trends was a resurgence in the popularity of Scott-style historical romances and war novels.
Red Badge reveals the ways in which these recontextualizations of the Civil War are unsatisfactory. The tall soldier "develops virtues" and goes to "wash a shirt," waving it as if he were "a herald in red and gold" Crane, This description parodies the "martial spirit" so popular in the rhetoric of the jingoists and in Teddy Roosevelt's notion of the "strenuous life.
Jackson Lears, the martial ideal emerged in s America as a popular antidote to enervated refinement, a premodern alternative to lackluster industrial man: This amounts to a paraphrase of Henry Fleming's early musings about battle: Men were better, or more timid.
Secular and religious education had effaced the throat-grappling instinct, or else firm finance held in check the passions" Crane, Henry, like so many men in the s, wondered about the passing of opportunities for masculine assertions and worried that the days of martial glory were over.
Martial Ideal The Southern cultivation of the "Lost Cause" fed into the chivalric notions of what Lears calls the "martial ideal. The descriptions of generals in Red Badge emphasize their quasi-divine status. They are far removed from the fray; they hold conferences in which they denounce the common troops; Henry passionately resents them and thinks them unable to understand him.
Nonetheless, he aspires to martial greatness. After his initial secession from the regiment and withdrawal into self-analysis, Henry rejoins and fights like a "war devil.
This seems to be Henry's experience, as well. Red Badge may celebrate combat to a point, but it does not uncritically participate in the militaristic national cheerleading that was commonplace in the late s.
Domestic Subplots Many of the Civil War novels of the s and s included domestic subplots in which sectional differences were reconciled through marriage between houses the Union officer marries the Southern belle. Popular paintings like "The Consecration" depicted the soldier and his faithful lover: Crane appears interested in this idea when he introduces the dark-haired maiden who looks longingly after Henry as he leaves for war Crane, But she is abruptly dropped; this is the last readers see of her.
Crane abandons the domestic subplot to emphasize that there is to be no joining of the houses in Red Badge, no easy reconciliation.
Veterans' Tales Crane's revolt against the domestic realism of his precursors--the aristocratic refinement of James and Howells--and the easy answers of popular fiction is rooted in his own apprehension about the crisis of cultural authority. Early on, Henry Fleming expresses doubts about the veracity of veterans' accounts of the enemy: They talked much of smoke, fire, and blood, but he could not tell how much might be lies.
They persistently yelled, Fresh fish! Henry questions the power of historical authority--the words of the veterans--to assure continuity into the present. War stories often obscure as much as they reveal, Crane suggests, in what must be seen as a commentary on the contemporary phenomenon of Confederate and Union veterans getting together to re-interpret the war as glorious testimony to their mutual manhood.
Fraught with the opposed tensions of economic incorporation and increasing social diversity, art in the antebellum age often revealed the ways in which personal identity and political unity were at cross purposes. The Civil War radicalized such concerns and caused individual Americans to wonder what, if anything, could be said to continue to attach to the term 'American character' or even 'American nation.
Such questions were exacerbated by the change from entrepreneurial to corporate capitalism in lateth century America.
For Crane, at least, the Civil War became a metaphor for the individual's experience in the age of incorporation and mass society.
Jackson Lears suggests that these years saw "a shift from a Protestant to a therapeutic orientation within the dominant culture" Lears, xiv. This "therapeutic orientation" included the fin de siecle yearning for authentic individual experience--physical, emotional, or spiritual.His imagery is sometimes very vivid, extremely memorable.
Blue (the color of Henry’s uniform) is mentioned 51 times.
The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Realism. Infantry, artillery, cavalry, panic-stricken cattle, accompanied with the shrieks of the wounded and groans of the dying, with a hail of shells from Jackson's guns and serenaded by the rebel yell, with officers cursing in a chaotic state, was an experience I will never forget.". Color Imagery in The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane uses color imagery and color symbols in The Red Badge of Courage. Green represents youth, red is a symbol of Henry Fleming's mental visions of battle, and gray is used as a symbol for death. The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane (–). Critics in particular have pointed to the repeated use of color imagery throughout the novel, both literal and figurative, as proof of the novel's use of Impressionism.
Red is mentioned 42 times. Crimson (synonym for red)is used 8 times. The Red Badge of Courage is a nouvelle that takes the reader inside the mind of the main character. "The Red Badge of Courage as Myth and Symbol," - Assignment Five: Read the essays by: Rechnitz, Robert M.
"Depersonalization and the Dream in The Red Badge of Courage" Henderson, Harry B. The essay includes his perspective on Crane's color imagery and style.
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iv THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE AG RED BADGE FM 8/9/06 AM Page iv. THE LIFE AND WORKS OF Stephen Crane Stephen Crane (–) lived only twenty-eight years. In that time, he earned a reputation as a great American nov-elist, poet, and short-story writer; was a forerunner of literary.