Once the battle begins, what does Henry do? What does Henry know about the reasons the war is being fought?

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hero5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the first battle begins Henry stays with the men and follows orders; however, Henry does not fire his gun. Rather, he freezes and can not stop watching what is happening around him as if he is a spectator. Henry knows nothing of the real reasons that the war is being fought. The only thing Henry understands is that all the young men are joining up to fight. He has a very romanticized view of war at the beginning of the novel and all he can see as he goes off to fight is how others must view him as this brave, grown man. He fantasizes about being a hero and courageous and does not see things past this level of understanding until much later.

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The Red Badge of Courage

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