The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War

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The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Ranks among the foremost literary achievements of the modern era. Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound—a "red badge of courage"—to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer. Although Crane was born after the war, and had not at the time experienced battle first-hand, the novel is known for its realism. The novel is known for its distinctive style, which includes realistic battle sequences as well as the repeated use of color imagery, and ironic tone. Separating itself from a traditional war narrative, reflects the inner experience of its protagonist—a soldier fleeing from combat—rather than the external world around him.