The Red Badge Of Courage And A Farewell To Arms: The Main Characters



Many great literary novels have the protagonist, the main character
of the novel, being portrayed as the "hero". There are many different
deeds and actions that can characterize a person as a hero such as saving
someone from a burning house at the risk of one's own life. The main
distinguishing characteristic of a true hero is self-sacrifice, whether it
be scarifice of your own personal desires or ideals or sacrifice of
physical well being to help others. There are a few novels in which the
main character of the work does not exemplify the deeds and thought of a
true hero. Two such works include Stephen Cranes' The Red Badge of Courage
and Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.
Both ...

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of
others. Also, the fact that he wants to impress people and appear heroic
is a selfish aspiration. Heroes act not to impress others but to help them.
Usually the actions of a hero are impulsive and not premeditated because
the hero does what he/she believes is right and what their heart tells them
is right and not what others judge is right.
In The Red Badge of Courage, Henry is preoccupied about whether or
not he's going to run when it comes time to fight. After the second
skirmish, the readers find out that he does indeed run from battle but
that's not what makes him a non-hero. It's the fact that he tries to
rationalize and justify his running. He says that his running is "... not
a fault, a shameful thing; it was an act obedient to a law." He also uses
nature to justify his running such as when he throws something at a
squirrel and it runs away. He's also egotistical when he says that his
running away was done with "dignity" as compared to the others who ran ...

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and leaves him to wander helplessly in the
fields.
Henry Fleming could still be labeled a hero if he changes at the
end and learns from his experiences. But at the end of the novel, he's
still as self-absorbed and egotistical as he was before. When the battle
is over and they're marching home, Henry is informed that one of their
fellow soldiers, Jimmie Rogers is dead, Henry doesn't really give it much
thought but goes right on thinking about how "...his public deeds were
paraded in great and shining prominence" and how the performances "... had
been witnessed by his fellows...". His recollections are interrrupted for
a moment by the memory of the tattered man but "...he mustered the ...

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Added: 8/1/2004 10:09:46 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1474
Pages: 6

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