1 Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage -(November 1 1871 - 5 June 1900) was an American novelist poet and journalist. He was born in Newark New Jersey the 14th child of a Methodist minister. 2 -While supporting himself through his writing he observed the poor in the Bowery slums to research his first novel Maggie A Girl Of The Streets (1893) which was a milestone in the development of literary naturalism. - Naturalistic writers believe that ones heredity and surroundings decide ones character. Naturalism attempts to determine scientifically the underlying forces (i.e. the environment or heredity) influencing these subjects actions. -This style of writing would be a defining trait of his later work especially The Red Badge of Courage. 3 -The Red Badge of Courage (1895) is a powerful tale of the American Civil War. The book won international acclaim for its realism and psychological depth in telling the story of a young soldier facing the horrors and triumphs of war for the first time. -Crane had never experienced battle personally but conducted interviews with a number of veterans. 4 Characters In the Red Badge... Henry Fleming Throughout the novel Crane refers to Henry as the young soldier and the youth. Henrys reasons for wanting to win glory in battle are far from noble. Henry desires a reputation. Jim Conklin Jim contrasts sharply with Henry in the opening pages of the novel. Jim has little patience for the kind of loud knee-jerk criticism or vague abstraction that distracts Wilson and Henry. He prefers to do what duty requires of him and finds a quiet simple pleasure in doing so. Wilson Wilson undergoes a dramatic change. Wilson is initially loud opinionated and naïve. For the first half of the book Crane refers to him almost exclusively as the loud soldier. His tone changes when he faces the realities of war. 5 -Based loosely on the events of the Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville (May 26 1863)though neither the battle the war nor the armies are named in the bookThe Red Badge of Courage shattered American preconceptions about what a war novel could be. In the decades before Cranes novel most fiction about the Civil War was heavily idealistic portraying the conflict as a great clash of opposed ideals. 6 Whereas previous writers had taken a large epic view Crane focused on the individual psychology of a single soldier Private Henry Fleming during his first experiences of battle. In this narrowed scope Crane represents Henrys mind as a maze of illusions vanity and romantic naïveté challenged by the hard lessons of war. Crane does not depict a world of moral absolutes but rather a universe utterly indifferent to human existence. 7 -Crane was also the author of two books of poetry The Black Riders (1895) and War Is Kind (1899). -In 1897 Crane settled in England where he befriended writers Joseph Conrad and Henry James. Shortly before his death he released Whilomville Stories (1900) the most commercially successful of the twelve books he wrote. http//etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/brows e-mixed-newidCraAngetagpublicimagesimages/mo dengdata/texts/english/modeng/parsed 8 -Crane died of tuberculosis (consumption) at the age of 28 in Badenweiler Germany on June 5 1900. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in what is now Hillside New Jersey.
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