Throughout the novel, Crane refers to Henry as “the youngsoldier” and also “the youth.” Both the ideal and worst characteristicsof Henry’s youth note him. Unlike the veteran soldiers whom he encounters duringhis initially battle, Henry is not jaded. He believes, albeit naïvely, instandard models of courage and honor, and also romanticizes the imageof dying in battle by invoking the Greek heritage of a dead soldierbeing lassist upon his shield. On the various other hand also, because he is young,Henry has yet to endure sufficient to test these abstractions. Asa result, his the majority of passionate convictions are based on bit elsethan fantasies, making him seem vain and also self-centered.

Henry’s factors for wanting to win glory in fight arefar from noble. The philosophical underpinnings of the war carry out notmotivate him; neither does any deeply hosted, personal feeling of rightand also wrong. Instead, Henry desires a reputation. He really hopes that an impressiveperformance on the battlearea will certainly immortalize him as a hero amongguys who, bereason of the domesticating effects of faith and also education,seldom identify themselves so dramatically. Ironically, afterfleeing from battle, Henry feels little guilt about invoking hisvery own intelligence in order to justify his cowardice. He condemnsthe soldiers who remained to fight as imbeciles that were not “wiseenough to save themselves from the flurry of fatality.” This is howhe restores his vulnerable self-pride. When Henry retransforms to camp andlies around the nature of his wound, he doubts neither his manhoodnor his ideal to behave actually as pompously as a veteran. Henry’s lackof a true moral sense manifests itself in the emptiness of the honorand also glory that he looks for. He feels no obligation to earn theseaccolades. If others call him a hero, he believes he is one.

When Henry finally faces fight, but, he feels a “momentary butsublime absence of selfishness.” A good adjust occurs within him:as he fights, he loses his sense of self. No much longer is he interested inwinning the praise and also attention of various other men; instead, he permits himselfto disappear into the comactivity and end up being one component of a greatfighting machine. As Henry finds himself deeply immersed in fight,the importance of winning a name for himself fades through the gunsmoke, for “it was hard to think of reputation once otherswere thinking of skins.” It is ironic, then, that Henry establisheshis reputation at these extremely moments. Officers who witness his fiercefighting regard him as among the regiment’s finest. Henry does notcwarmth his method to the honor that he so desperately craves once thenovel opens; rather, he earns it. This marks aincredible development in Henry’s character. He learns to reflect onhis mistakes, such as his previously retreat, without defensivenessor bravaperform, and also abandons the hope of blustery heroism for a quieter,however even more satisfying, understanding of what it indicates to be a man.

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