Evolution Of A Soldier Essay, Research Paper
Henry Becomes A Man
In the book The Red Badge of Courage, Henry changes in many ways as a soldier. In the beginning of the story he is scared of battle and runs, yet by the end of the book he is a true soldier. Many important events shape Henry s evolution into a veteran soldier. Many of Henry s own glorified notions of war are what make him so wary and unsure of himself. A major turning point in the story is when Henry receives his head wound and lets everyone believe he was shot. Another of Henry s major evolutions is when he goes into battle with the flag and finally knows what true bravery is.
Henry s evolution begins when he has glorious thoughts of war and romanticizes it. This causes Henry to be unsure of himself from the start because he feels that war is glorious and he doesn t know if he can live up to his own stereotype of war. Henry thinks about what his reaction to combat will be far too much. He makes it so that he is worried about something that he can control. All Henry has to do is decide ahead of time whether he is going to stay and fight or whether he will run. Even if he can t make that decision he can always decide that he will just do what everyone else does which eventually turns into running. Once Henry runs he has started to evolve because know he knows that he is scared and doesn t have to think about it anymore. This is very important because with all the time Henry thinks about whether he will run or not he could be thinking about how is going to fight and stay alive.
Henry s next evolution occurs when he is running and gets hit by a fellow soldier s rifle. This hit causes a bloody wound on Henry s head and this makes him feel like he has taken a blow for his country. This is enhanced even more when the rest of his unit sees his wound and thinks he has been shot. Of course, Henry doesn t tell them differently and leaves it at that. This gives him a heightened feeling of respect and dignity because the other soldiers believe he took a bullet. This evolution has to do with giving Henry more courage.
The last major evolution Henry has as a soldier is when he goes into battle bearing the flag. This is a huge evolution because in the first battle Henry runs away and now he is charging into battle bearing the Union flag, ready to fight for his country. As Henry charges into battle bearing the flag he comes to the realization that he is finally not a youth anymore but that they look up to him and the flag he bears. They see him as he saw the veterans in the first battle, it is ironic how he once looked up to those who are now looking up to him because he has the flag. Now Henry is finally a true soldier, he has run, he has been wounded, and he has stayed and fought and is alive to tell about it.
To finish, Henry goes through an entire cycle of evolution from a boy to a veteran soldier. All of Henry s fears have finally been put to rest once and for all, he no longer has to worry about living through the war or if he will run or fight, it is all behind him now and he has gained a great deal from his experiences. He has been cowardly and brave. He has lied and told the truth. He has gained courage from his follies and wisdom from his fellow soldiers. Now that Henry s evolution is complete he is finally able to go home and tell his family about all he has done to become the new man he is.