Henry and Wilson both act modestly to the story of the colonel and lieutenant talking about them in The Red Badge of Courage.What does this tell you about their change in...

Henry and Wilson both act modestly to the story of the colonel and lieutenant talking about them in The Red Badge of Courage.

What does this tell you about their change in attitude?

Asked on by ryry1212

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

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If you were to trace the growth of Henry's character and its development through the novel, this episode that occurs at the end of Chapter Twenty One would definitely be something that you would need to discuss. On the one hand, it shows that Henry is still narcissistic and naive, but on the other hand, it does show real growth in terms of his own modesty and pride. Note the way in which Henry and Wilson respond to the praise that is conferred upon them by their superiors:

But despite these youthful scoffings and embarrassments, they knew that their faces were deeply flushing from thrills of pleasure. They exchanged a secret glance of joy and congratulation.

Although he still places great importance in the opinion of others, we can see that such a modest response to such high praise would have been impossible for the Henry of the beginning of the novel. That Henry would never have been able to contain his elation at receiving such praise with a "secret glance of joy and congratulation." Slowly, but surely, we see both Henry and Wilson are growing and developing as men and becoming less vain and full of pride.

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