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What are key quotes from chapters 11 and 15 of The Red Badge of Courage?  I am looking...

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tantesaka | eNoter

Posted May 22, 2011 at 2:00 PM via web

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What are key quotes from chapters 11 and 15 of The Red Badge of Courage?

 

I am looking for quotes that demonstrate Henry's feelings and thoughts as he comes to terms with his experiences and reflects on his feelings about the future.

This is for discussion with accelerated 6th graders... I have never taught this book or grade school literature.

 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the key quotes for me from Chapter 11 concerns Henry watching the battle progressing from the safety of the sidelines and how the duty and bravery of the soldiers he watches impresses him so much that he is even more aware of his lack of bravery and courage. Note what this quote tells us about Henry:

As the youth looked at them the black weight of his woe returned to him. He felt that he was regarding a procession of chosen beings. The separation was as great to him as if they had marched with weapons of flame and banners of sunlight. He could never be like them. He could have wept in his longing.

We still see in this quote therefore that Henry is obsessed by his desire to prove himself to be brave in battle as he imagines it. The soldiers he is so impressed by are viewed by him as "chosen beings" and he almost wants to weep at the perceived gap between himself and the soldiers he idolises.

In Chapter 15, I would probably choose the last paragraph, where he feels superior to Wilson after returning his letter to him, and begins to imagine the glory and praise he will receive back home when he tells friends and family his stories:

He saw his gaping audience picturing him as the central figure in blazing scenes. And he imagined the consternation and the ejaculations of his mother and the young lady at the seminary as they drank his recitals. Their vague feminine formula for beloved ones doing brave deeds on the field of battle without risk of life would be destroyed.

From the start of the novel, Henry has sought the praise and attention of others through his hero status, and here we see him doing precisely the same thing, as he glories in the heroic status that he has not actually yet achieved. We still seem him fixated on a romantic and innacurate notion of battle that experiences have yet to take away.

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