Why is the dispute over when the regiment will move important in "The Red Badge of Courage"?

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jeff-hauge eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The private is battling with his sense of self. The members of the regiment are looking for validation regarding their importance to the war effort. The fact that they must "hurry up and wait" is ultimately frustrating and humiliating. The private longs to be important, and is searching for a opportunity to prove himself, not for the cause of the North. This is evident in the notable absence of identification with one side of the other. The enemy is viewed at this part of the book as a painting, described in broad abstract strokes. This is an indication of how he feels about himself. The regiment wants what Henry wants, a mark of validation.

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The Red Badge of Courage

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