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Synopsis

As the title of the work suggests, the main theme of the novel deals with Henry Fleming’s attempt to prove himself a worthy soldier by earning his “red badge of courage”. The first twelve chapters, until he receives his accidental wound, expose his cowardice. The following chapters detail his growth and apparently resulting heroism. Before the onset of battle, the novel’s protagonist romanticized war; what little he knew about battle he learned from books: “He had read of marches, sieges, conflicts, and he had longed to see it all”.

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