Discussion Questions for
The Red Badge of Courage
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Please read about these questions here.
Numbers indicate page numbers in the edition I'm using.
Why does Crane use the term "Homeric"?(4)
When Henry tells his mother that he has enlisted why is he disappointed in her response?(5)
What do you think of Henry's mother's speech?(4-6)
What does the third paragraph on page 7 mean?(it begins "He was brought then . . .")
Why is Henry afraid that he will run from the battle?(8)
What does the phrase, "He was an unknown quantity" mean?(9)
Does Henry think too much? Why or why not?
Why do you think Crane refers to the soldiers so often as "tall," "loud," "young" "tattered" or "blatant" rather than by their names?
What is "the Question" on page 22 at the end of the 2nd paragraph?
What does it mean to call war the "red animal" and the "blood-swollen god?"(23)
Henry thinks, "He must look to the grave for comprehension." What does he mean by this?(26, top)
Read the last sentence of Chapter 5(36). Why is this surprising?
Was Henry right or wrong to flee the battle?(39-40) Defend your answer.
How does Henry rationalize fleeing from the battle?(43-45) What do you think of his reasons? Are they legitimate? Why or why not?
Why does the war fascinate Henry?(47, bottom) Does war fascinate you? Why or why not?
Why does Crane refer to war as a machine(47) and machinery?(49)
What is a "red badge of courage?"(51) Why does Henry want one?
Why is Henry so excited to see his friend, Jim Conklin?(52-55) How does Jim's death affect him?
Why does Henry leave the "tattered man"?(56-59)
On page 59 Crane writes, "The simple questions of the tattered man had been knife thrusts to him. They asserted a society that probes pitilessly at secrets until all is apparent." What does this mean?
Why is Henry unable to understand heroes?(61)
The last sentence of chapter 11 is, "He was a slang phrase." What does that mean?
When Henry says "why . . ."(3 different times) on page 66 what is he asking? Who is he addressing?
Why do you think Henry's friend("the loud soldier") has changed?(77, see last 2 paragraphs, through 80)
What does the paragraph on page 82 that begins, "In the present . . ." mean?
Why has Henry's attitude changed so much?(see 82, bottom and all of 83)
What does Henry hope to accomplish with his tales about the war?(85, last paragraph of chapter 15.)
What does the last sentence of page 90 mean?
Why is Henry willing to fight?(92) What causes this change in him?
What does the 6th paragraph on page 97 mean?(It begins, "These happenings had occupied . . .")
What does the sentence, "The world was fully interested in other matters" on page 98 mean?(in 2nd to last paragraph)
On page 125 read the paragraph that begins, "Later he began . . .", and read the one following it. What do they mean? What does "many of his usual machines of reflection had been idle" mean? Why had they? What does it mean to look at one's actions in a "spectator fashion"?
Why is Henry unable to forget his flight from the first battle?(126-127)
Does Henry forgive himself for leaving the "tattered soldier"?
Why is Henry "gleeful" that he now "despises" his "earlier gospels"?(128, 2nd paragraph)
Why does Henry now have a "large sympathy for the machinery of universe"?(128, 3rd paragraph)
Why does Crane so often refer to Henry Fleming as the "young soldier" and not as Henry Fleming?
How would you describe Henry Fleming at the end of the novel? Is he a courageous person? Why or why not?
What does The Red Badge of Courage say about war? What does it say about the individual in war?
Do you like Henry Fleming? Why or why not?
Did you like The Red Badge of Courage? Why or why not?
©2005-2013 Glen Draeger (all rights reserved)
Millstone Education: World Literature / http://www.millstoneeducation.com/worldLit