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Essay on Fantasies and Realities in Red Badge Of Courage

Fantasies and Realities in The Red Badge Of Courage

In The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane the main character, Henry Fleming, thought he understood the war between the North and the South. However, his understanding came “from his knowledge of fairy tales and mythology”(Gibson 21). Henry thought that he was like the heroes that he read about in these stories. He soon learned that real war was very different from his imaginative expectations. Crane took Henry’s fantasies and contrasted them with the realities of the war to develop this main character into a mature person.

Henry spent his early life on a farm in Virginia. Henry’s perception of the world was shaped almost entirely by the books his mother gave him to read. After the war started, “the newspapers carried accounts of great battles, in which the North was victor. Almost every day the newspapers printed accounts of decisive victory”(Walcutt), Henry’s mother was reluctant to let her son leave home and go South to do battle against the Confederate Army. She knew that Henry’s vision of war was not what war is really like. She tried to get Henry to change his mind about joining the army, but she was unsuccessful because “tales of ‘the war in his own country’ inevitably began to move him. They many not be distinctly Homeric, but there seemed to be much glory in them’”(Cody 122). Henry “is motivated” by his “heroic expectations of ‘great things’”(Colvert 97) as well as his keen interest and curiosity about what he views as the elements of war.

Henry thought that if one did not get a red badge of courage, then he was a coward. Henry had “battles” in his mind. “Fleming would pass into an absorptive trance in which…

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…n, IA: Perfection Learning Corporation, 1979.

Gibson, Donald B. The Red Badge of Courage: Redefining the Hero. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.

Lowell, Amay. Introduction. The Work of Stephen Crane: “The Black Riders and Other Lines.” By Stephen Crane. Vol. VI. 1926. Rpt. in Discovering Authors. Vers 1.0. CD-ROM. Detriot: Gale, 1992.

Magill, Frank N., Magill’s Survey: American Literature Realism to 1945. California: Salem Press, Inc., 1963.

Walcutt, Charles C. Stephen Crane: Naturalist and Impressionist in his American Literary Naturalism, a Divided Stream, University of Minnesota Press. 1956. Rpt. in Discovering Authors. Vers 1.0 CD-ROM. Detriot: Gale, 1992.

Wolford, Chester L. “Stephen Crane.” Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Ed. Frank N. Magill. English Language Series. Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Salem Press, 1991.

Emily Grierson Living in the Past in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

Emily Grierson Living in the Past in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

In “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, Emily Grierson seems to be living with her father in what people referred to as the old South. However, most of the story takes place after the Civil War, but Miss Emily is clearly living in the past. As critic Frederick Thum pointed out, “Many people are able to survive in the present, but give little or no thought to the future, and these people usually live in the past. Such a mind is the mind of Miss Emily Grierson…”(1). Miss Emily’s comprehension of death, her relationship with the townspeople, and her reaction toward her taxes are clear examples that she is living in the past.

At the beginning of the story, the narrator tells the reader that “our whole town went to her funeral”(336). The narrator goes on and informs the reader that, “She was a ‘fallen monument…[sig] a tradition, a duty and a care: a sort of hereditary obligation upon this town'”(Pierce 850). “Miss Emily was referred to as a ‘fallen monument’ because she was a ‘monument’ of Southern gentility, and ideal of past values but fallen because she had shown herself susceptible to death (and decay” (Rodriguez 1). By the time of Emily’s death most of the people in her town were younger than she and had never been able to include her in their lives or community activities. She has stood mainly as a example of an older ideal of Southern womanhood, even though she had grown fat and pale in her later years. The older and younger generations of townspeople treated Miss Emily differently. “‘The older generation, under the mayoralty of Colonel Sartois, has relieved Miss Emily of her taxes and has sent its children to take…

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…licts between them. Her refusal or inability to move out of this world is reflected in her comprehension of death, her relationship with the townspeople, and her reaction toward her taxes.

Works Cited and Consulted

Faulkner, William. “A Rose For Emily” Literature and the Writing Process Eds. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 4th Ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentince Hall, 1996.

Pierce, Constance, “William Faulkner.” Critical Survey of Short Fiction Ed. Frank N. MaGill. 7 vols. Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 1993: 848-857.

Rodriquez,Celia. “An Analysis of ‘A Rose for Emily.'” 9 Sept. 1996. 17 Mar. 1998

Them, Frederick. “A Rose for Emily: Confusion of Past and Present.” 2 Oct. 1995. 17 Mar.1998

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