In The Red Badge of Courage, how had the young soldier, Henry Fleming, imagined war?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Before he leaves home, Henry as a very romantic idea about war. He envisions himself coming home as a hero and having all the girls admire him. His mother is more realistic saying,""'Yer jest one little feller amongst a hull lot of others, and yeh've got to keep quiet an' do what they tell yeh. I know how you are, Henry.'" However, she knows Henry must learn about war for himself. Henry never thought about how cold, dirty and sometimes tedious war can be, especially when his regiment is waiting in training camp. As he begins to think about his real situation, he begins to be afraid that he might run when actually called to fight.

sabbapal | Student

Before he really fought in a war, he imagined it to be full of glory, where he swooped in to save everyone and was rewarded with honor, and medals, and so on. He also thought that when he returned home, everyone would like him, and respect him.

sunlight4 | Student

I believe Henry thinks of war with a romantic view. "He had imagined  peoples secure in the shadow of his eagle-eyed prowess." or in other words he pictured himself as a hero. Before he left for war he thought his mom would say something about ,"returning with his shield or on it." But instead, after he inslists she replies with a realistic approach and simply tells him to take care of himself. So ultimately in the end Henry must learn about war firsthand for himself to discover what it is really like.

heelflp4jc | Student

he imagined the war like he would be a hero, he did not think there would be as many casualties, he discovered the hard truth that his imagination was far from true.

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The Red Badge of Courage

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