Illustration of Henry Fleming in a soldier's uniform in front of a confederate flag and an American flag

The Red Badge of Courage

by Stephen Crane

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What was Henry trying to discover about himself at the beginning of chapter 2?

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At the start of Chapter 2 it becomes clear that Henry's tall friend Jim got it all wrong; the army is not about to move after all. Nevertheless, Henry's worked himself up into a real state of worry about the forthcoming battle and news of the delay only adds to the unbearable tension. Henry's chomping at the bit to prove his heroism and courage, but now feels like he's all dressed up with nowhere to go.

In the meantime, Henry discovers a lot about himself and who he really is. He feels somewhat apart from the other men, who don't appear to be taking the forthcoming battle with the same degree of seriousness as himself. They're most probably just letting off steam, trying their best to deal with the nervousness and apprehension they must be feeling deep inside. But Henry's too young and too naive to understand any of this, and starts to think that maybe he's not cut out to be a soldier.

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