by Stephen Crane "The Red Badge of Courage", a novel by Stephen Crane, is a captivating book. It is the story of a young man who becomes a soldier and fights during an episode of the Civil War. In this book, not only does he fight the Rebels, but he fights his fears. Entering the battle a fearful youth, he comes out a brave warrior. I recommend this book for several reasons, the most important being the theme and characterization, which go hand in hand throughout the book. The theme is that one must think through, then face his/her fears to overcome them. Henry Fleming is a perfect example of this theme in action. The first time he fights, he becomes afraid and runs away. But as he starts fighting the battle not only physically but mentally, he begins to succeed and becomes a brave hero admired by his peers and superiors. This theme may be applied to almost any fear one faces, since all fears are in the mind. If one can calmly think things through before heading straight into them, he will have more control at the right time, and have a greater chance of succeeding. As Henry proves, once a fear has been overcome by the mind, it is nearly gone. Characterization also plays a major role in this book. Henry's peers do not express the emotions that some of them obviously feel. For this reason, Henry has nobody to confide in, but is left to battle his own fears. The diction of this book is also another positive factor for the reader. The story is easy-reading, and flows smoothly. The vocabulary is simple, and because of this, the reader is not caught up in the words and is left to enjoy the story. The characters' dialect also adds a special touch, and makes the story more true to life. This book is also incredibly realistic, which is why it captivates the reader so. Never even having seen a battle in his life, the author recreates an extremely realistic battle scene. The rich details in the story almost let the reader dive into the story and smell the smoke, see the blood, or hear the rifles firing. Again, I highly recommend this book for readers looking for a good war story. This book has a theme which teaches a good lesson, and it is fun and easy to read. "The Red Badge of Courage" is definitely worth experiencing.
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