Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

The Red Badge of Courage


Commonly considered Stephen Crane's greatest accomplishment, The Red Badge of Courage (1895) ranks among the foremost literary achievements of the modern era. When its publication was announced in Publisher's Weekly on 5 October 1895, Crane was largely unknown. Although his volume of poetry published earlier that year, The Black Riders, had made some waves in literary circles, it struck most readers as quirky and cryptic. The gritty social realism of his first novel Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893) had earned praise from literati such as Hamlin Garland and W. D. Howells, but Crane probably gave away more copies than were actually sold. (The story is told that Crane, in a desperate advertising scheme, paid men to ride the Manhattan El train and conspicuously read copies of Maggie.) When Crane signed a contract with D. Appleton and Co. to publish Red Badge, he was not well-known enough to command an advance, and agreed to a flat 10 per cent royalty on the retail price of all copies sold. Published in the autumn of 1895, Red Badge went through two editions before the end of the year. By March of 1896 the novel was in eighth place on the international booksellers' list and had gone through fourteen printings; remarkably enough, Red Badge has never been out of print. Unfortunately, unremunerative contracts with publishers and a general lack of good business sense kept Crane insolvent for much of his life. But with the publication of Red Badge, Crane achieved almost overnight celebrity.


The Red Badge of Courage was written by Stephen Crane, published in 1895. The inspiring book contains a series of drastic and emotional events in a young soldier’s life during the Civil War. It commences with Henry Fleming’s ambitious yet slightly hasty decision to enlist in the Union regiment, against his sentimental mother’s desires. The book summarizes the Civil War and the psychological consequences on Henry’s young mind. His courage and sparse cowardliness is displayed throughout the book when his young mind drew the choice to become part of the military and his intensely fought and last battle. These characteristics continued until the moment Henry’s mind closed around the concept of victory and he seized the colored flag and raised it to the smoke infested sky.--Submitted by Anonymous

Fan of this book? Help us introduce it to others by writing a better introduction for it. It's quick and easy, click here.

Recent Forum Posts on The Red Badge of Courage

My Favorite Passage

This is my favorite part of the whole book. In fact, it may just be one of my favorite literary moments ever. But they were in a state of frenzy, perhaps because of forgotten vanities, and it made an exhibition of sublime recklessness. There was no obvious questioning, nor figurings, nor diagrams. There was, apparently, no considered loopholes. It appeared that the swift wings of their desires would have shattered against the iron gates of the impossible. He himself felt the daring spirit of a savage, religion-mad. He was capable of profound sacrifices, a tremendous death. He had no time for dissections, but he knew that he thought of the bullets only as things that could prevent him from reaching the place of his endeavor. There were subtle flashings of joy within him that thus should be his mind. Comments? Other Passages?

Chapter 1

Holiday Greetings!Just sharing my view of the 1st five chapters of Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage"...In a way, Henry exemplifies growth & maturity. @ this stage there is some haziness in his thought processes & self-awareness. It's intricately complex: his self-doubting, his perseverance as a very precious youth combating in the Civil War...we know he is going to temporarily desert his battalion...but the dynamics is great! He is transforming from a youth to a man who earns The Red Badge of Courage!!!

i have a few questions

why did henry leave the tattered man and the other wouned men? how did the cheerful man help henry get back to the his unit? when henry returned to his unit, how was her treated? how had henry received a head wound? how did henry become the flag or standard bearer? and last but not least what did henry find in the clearing in the woods? i need these answers right away and i need them badly.

need help

I have a question, how did the author's point of view and personal "bias" influence the plot and outcome of the story?

is he a hero???

hi, ive read this book twice. ive gone on every website possible. it puzzles me that i cant find if he is a hero or not. he did run. and he got a "fake" red badge of courage but im still trying to figure out if he is one. i am no longer in school so this is to just help me figure more things out rather then having to think about it during lunch at work:crash: .flare: :thumbs_up thanks, much gratitude. Joe campbell:thumbs_up:)

yellow packet

what does the yellow packet in red badge of courage mean. I know that wilson gave it to him, but is it a letter? oh, and why did Henry think he might need to use the packet.

I have a few questions that need to be answered.

Hi, i have just a few questions that have to do with the Red Badge of Courage. If any one could answer these or give some sort of idea, it would be greatly appreciated. 1) What effect does imagery have on the story? 2) What does crane mean when he uses the term battle sheep? 3) What point of view does Crane use in the book? What does it allow that no other point of view would allow the reader? Thank you for your patience and answers

please help

hello im doing a project for school and i was wondering if anyone knew the conflict of this story .. it will be greatley appreciated if you please respond . thank you

Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage

I have been reading the The Red Badge of Courage. I a quite interested by the author. I looked up on the internet and found that he, Stephen Crane, did not actually joined the American Civil War. Infact, he joined the war between America and Mexico. I don't know why he wrote this book. Can any one tell me why did Stephen Crane wrote the The Red Badge of Courage not talking about the Mexico War but the American Civil War and the main character isn't himself either? What is his motif of writing this book?

Your Opinion

do you think that henry in the end is? a true hero? why or why not?

Post a New Comment/Question on The Red Badge of Courage

Related links for Stephen Crane

Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Stephen Crane written by other authors featured on this site.

Sorry, no links available.

Stephen Crane

Sorry, no summary available yet.