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There was a loud shout: “Forward, march!” They heard the sound of marching feet as another regiment passed. They followed them into the dark ill two long blue lines. They heard more men marching behind them. All that day, the army marched under a clear blue sky. They passed over hills and through woods.
The young soldier walked along, saying nothing. He looked around nervously. “What’s that noise?” he asked himself. “Is it gunfire? And is that smoke?”
This is the story of a young American soldier named Henry Fleming. When he is a boy, he dreams of going to war. He thinks that war is an adventure. He wants to be a hero.
When he is older, his country is at war. The north of the country is fighting against the south. Everyone is always talking about the war. The newspapers are full of stories about great battles. Henry leaves home and joins the army. When he puts on his new uniform, he feels proud and excited. He is ready to fight for his part of the country, the North.
He quickly discovers that a soldiers life isn’t always exciting.
He spends many months in an army camp. He and the other new soldiers learn to march and to shoot. Henry has a lot of time to think. He asks himself what he will do in a battle. Will he run or fight? Is he as brave as the other men? He won’t know the answers until the fighting starts.
After some time, the regiment laces the enemy. Henry and the other new soldiers are tested. They measure their courage against the enemy, their comrades, and themselves. Some are braver than others. Henry tries to understand the reasons. Maybe they are stronger than the others. Maybe they don’t understand the danger. Some soldiers try to help their comrades. Others only help themselves. Who is right and who is wrong?
The war is seen through Henrys eyes, but he is like every other young soldier. He is fighting in the American Civil War, but it is like every other war.
The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South of the United States of America. The two parts of the country were very different. In the South, the main activity was farming. In the North, there were many big cities and factories. The war started when the states of the South wanted to leave the United States of America.
About two million men fought in the war for the North, and about 900,000 men fought for the South. Many of the battles were fought in the South. A lot of this part of the country was destroyed.
In The Red Badge of Courage, Henry belongs to a Northern regiment. The battle in this book is like the Battle of Chancellorsville. That was fought in Virginia in May 1863.
There were around 130,000 men fighting for the North and 60,000 for the South. Many men were killed or wounded on both sides. The South won the battle, but they later lost the war.
The writer of this book, Stephen Crane, was born in New Jersey in 1871. He was the youngest child in a family of fourteen children.
In 1890, he went to New York and began writing for a newspaper. He lived in a poor area of the city. He wrote about the people that he met there. In 1893, his first book came out. It was called Maggie, A Girl of the Streets. He continued working for other newspapers after this.
The Red Badge of Courage came out in 1895, and it made Stephen Crane famous. Many people thought that Crane fought in the Civil War. They didn’t know that he was born after the war. He was never a soldier, but he described a soldier’s life very well. This book is very different from other books that were written at this time. Crane wrote about the fear and suffering of ordinary soldiers. In his book, they aren’t always heroes, and war is not just an adventure.
Because of this book, Crane was able to work for other American and foreign newspapers. In 1896, he traveled by ship from the United States to Cuba. The ship was destroyed, and he escaped in a small boat. He became very ill as a result. Two years later, he wrote a story about his escape. The book was called The Open Boat and Other Stories.
Stephen Crane went to live in England in 1897, and he became friends with other famous writers there. He continued to travel and to write for newspapers. He wrote about the war between Greece and Turkey in 1897. He also wrote about the Spanish American War in 1898. He wrote two books of poems, The Black Riders and Other Lines (1895) and War is Kind and Other Poems (1899). His other books are Active Service (1899), Whilomville Stories (1900) and Wounds in the Rain (1900).
Stephen Crane died in Germany in 1900 at the age of twenty eight.
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