In the last paragraph of Chapter 12 of The Red Badge of Courage, how might the man with the "cheery voice" be allegorical (Christ-like)? What language supports this assertion?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "man of the cheery voice" is the only person to pay attention to Henry as he stumbled through the woods, and he serves as Henry's guardian angel as they weaved together in the darkness. Henry noted that he has a type of magical power about him.

... the man of the cheery voice seemed to the youth to possess a wand of a magic kind. He threaded the mazes of the tangled forest with a strange fortune. In encounters with guards and patrols he displayed the keenness of a detective and the valor of a gamin. 

The Cheery Soldier predicted it would take a "miracle" for the two men to find their regiments in the confusion. But while everyone else about them were "buzzing about in frantic circles," the Cheery Soldier seemed to move as if by divine intervention. He made no mistakes while navigating their journey and, suddenly, the Cheery Soldier became even more gleeful. Pointing at a fire, he told Henry that he would find his regiment there. As the Cheery Soldier disappeared--whistling happily--into the darkness,

... it suddenly occurred to the youth that he had not once seen his face.

Like the gods and goddesses who guided the ancient mythical Greek heroes (such as Odysseus) but were often unseen to mere mortals, so, too, does the Cheery Soldier lead Henry from the hellish turmoil of the night to the safety of the fire.

Read the study guide:
The Red Badge of Courage

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question