-->''He wished that he, too, had a wound, [[TitleDrop a red badge of courage]].''

''The Red Badge of Courage'' is a novel about the [[TheAmericanCivilWar Civil War]], and is probably the modern TropeCodifier for WarIsHell. Henry Fleming, a young soldier of 304th regiment, joined the Union army with wide-eyed ideas about the glory of battle and service to his country. On the eve of his first battle, he worries he will not have the fortitude to face combat.

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!!This novel provides examples of:

* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: The rating the 304th Regiment gave to their commanding officer after he calls the entire regiment "mud diggers".
* TheAmericanCivilWar: Based canonically (according to the sequel, ''The Veteran'') on the Battle of Chancellorsville.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: In ''The Veteran'', it's reveal that Henry gained the rank of sergeant through fighting.
* BabiesEverAfter: Old Henry decided to settle down after the war and have a family, with a grandson called [[DeadGuyJunior Jim]].
* ChildSoldiers: A lot of soldiers. Henry, for example, is still in school.
* ComingOfAgeStory
* {{Deconstruction}}: WarIsGlorious? Think again.
* {{Determinator}}: When most of the Confederate force the 304th Regiment have to face runs away, five people stayed and kept fighting.
* DiedStandingUp: Jim Conklin.
* DirtyCoward: Henry at first before CharacterDevelopment turns him into a total {{Badass}}.
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: Averted, since there is very little warfare actually ''shown''; Henry is fleeing for much of it, and in the end he becomes a man because he ''doesn't'' want to fight any more.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: The novel avoids discussing which side is right. Just that both sides are fighting. Stephen Crane goes even a step further and just call the Unions "blue" and Confederates "gray", except in dialogues such as when the cheerful soldier led Henry back to 304th regiment and called the Confederates "Johnnies", a derogatory slang at that time towards the Confederates.
* HeroicSacrifice: Henry has a romantic notion of this at the beginning of the novel.
** In ''The Veteran'', Old Henry tries to save the two old colts at the end of a burning barn. The roof collapses before he would've gotten out.
* JumpedAtTheCall: Henry, without realizing what he's doing until he's too deep in it. Considering it's TheAmericanCivilWar, there were probably lots more.
* {{Narcissist}}: Henry at the beginning. CharacterDevelopment changed that.
* OhCrap: Many soldiers, including Henry, panic when the Confederates charge a second time. Also when Henry and Wilson overhear that their regiment will be used as CannonFodder.
* RedemptionInTheRain: The last chapter of the book after Henry self reflected on his past.
-->''It rained. The procession of weary soldiers became a bedraggled train, despondent and muttering, marching with churning effort in a trough of liquid brown mud under a low, wretched sky. Yet the youth smiled, for he saw that the world was a world for him, though many discovered it to be made of oaths and walking sticks. He had rid himself of the red sickness of battle. The sultry nightmare was in the past. He had been an animal blistered and sweating in the heat and pain of war. He turned now with a lover's thirst to images of tranquil skies, fresh meadows, cool brooks--an existence of soft and eternal peace.''
* RuleOfSymbolism: Many things symbolize that nature does not care about humanity, such as:
** the decaying body of an Union soldier Henry found when he runs away
** the clear skies after a battle.
* SacrificialLamb: Jim Conklin
* TatteredFlag: In the movie adaption, Henry charged with the tattered Union flag. He captured the Dixie in the end, more tattered than the Union flag.
* TitleDrop: Henry muses to himself as he walks with the wounded men away from the battle that he wished he was wounded too. If he had such a "red badge of courage" it would erase his cowardice, and prove he was a worthy man.
* TropeCodifier: For the WarIsHell theme and American realism as a genre.
* WarIsHell: This is the CivilWar we're talking about, so wounds, death, intense pain and infection! [[SarcasmMode JOY!]]
* WeHaveReserves: When the general (presumably Joseph Hooker) ask an officer what regiment could become the CannonFodder:
-->'''Officer:''' But there's th' 304th. They fight like a lot 'a mule drivers. I can spare them best of any.
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