Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stephen Crane's novel, The Red Badge of Courage, tells the story of a young Union Civil War soldier confronting the courage needed to take part in his first battle action. The title is Crane's way of describing a battle wound; the red badge, or bloody wound, is a symbol of bravery in the face of the enemy. It is considered an honor by many of the soldiers to be wounded under fire. The color red symbolizes blood (or in some cases, anger). The word badge is used to describe a wound one receives, often in the upper body where a real badge might be worn. Henry's own red badge is ironic because he does not receive it under fire; he is attacked by one of his own fellow Union soldiers while on the run after "skedaddling" under heavy fire. When Henry returns to his unit, he tells them that he must have been grazed by a bullet, and his story is believed. In the end, Henry redeems himself by heroic action as his regiment holds off a desperate Confederate attack.

sabbapal | Student
Red symbolises blood, because Crane refers to a red badge of courage as a wound proving your valor, and bravery. Badge is that it is like a badge stating that you are brane and honorable. Henry's is ironic because it was from a soldier on his side, belting him over the head with his rifle, after he came back from the woods.
sabbapal | Student

The red means blood, it means being courageous in the face of battle and death. I think it makes the book more mysterious, and it makes you think. It is a good question, and deserves many answers.

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