In Chapter 2 of The Red Badge of Courage, why does Henry remember the cows at home with "a halo of happiness" about their heads?
Henry has been ill at ease with his conscience, because the supreme trial of his courage--how he will react under fire for the first time--is drawing near. His regiment has been ordered to march at last, and he knows that a battle will soon result. While others have boasted about how heroically they will act when the first shots are fired, some--like the tall soldier--are not so sure. Henry's realistic uncertainty hangs over him constantly, and as he lays down in the grass with the moon beaming down from above, he wishes for the simple but boring time of life on the farm. Things were much simpler--and safer--then, and he pictures the "halo of happiness" above the heads of the cows. The cows had no worries and no expectations of what man desired from them; they were safe and content, and he claims that he
... would have sacrificed all the brass buttons on the continent to have been enabled to return to them.