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Character Analasis of Henry Flemming “Red Badge of Courage”

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    In the book “The Red Badge of Courage”, Henry Fleming is not a sympathetic character because of his attitude and lack of concern towards others. His interactions with others express his self-centered lifestyle and mindset. An example is on page 66; Henry says: “Now, don’t bother me! ” Later on in the paragraph the author’s description of how Henry wanted to strangle the tattered soldier helps me imagine Henry’s insecure and shameful feelings he was experiencing because of his actions. Henry clearly shuns and ignores the tattered soldier’s obvious attempt to befriend him.

    He didn’t consider that the tattered soldier was possibly lonely and in need of a friend, or that the soldier was hurting mentally or physically. His inconsiderateness toward his comrade in this situation was not admirable, and spoke to me strongly about his unsympathetic character. Though at times Henry does appear to be sympathetic, as shown in his statement on page 59; “I’ll take care of yeh’, Jim! I’ll take care of yeh’! I swear’t!… ” I believe his true, unsympathetic, character shines through more often than the scarcely seen sympathetic side of his personality.

    In that statement it appears that he did care for his friend and did intend to look after him, but he didn’t care or show love to his other living companions who needed his kindness just as much as the dying one. Henry’s unkindness is shown when, a soldier starts a conversation with him about how excited he was about the battle, but Henry stomps on his cheery, positive mood with a sharp reply; “I thought you was objecting to this march a little while ago” said the youth coldly” (page 18).

    Note that the author uses “coldly” to describe Henry’s speech. It appears that Henry had no intentions to uplift or encourage his friends through hard times, always carrying a damp spirit, and rebuking those with happy hearts. His lack of sympathy makes him an unsympathetic character. Though at times his actions may portray him as a sympathetic character, his negative motives and self-centered attitude have convinced me otherwise.

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