The Red Badge of Courage | Study Guide

Stephen Crane

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The Red Badge of Courage | Chapter 10 | Summary



The tattered man remarks on Jim's strength and encourages Henry to keep going since there is nothing else that can be done for Jim. As they walk across the field, the tattered man tells the story of his neighbor Tom Jamison who is in his regiment. The tattered man starts to ramble, and Henry is afraid he is going to die, too. Henry becomes enraged when the tattered man asks him about his wound and then talks about hidden wounds that tend to be more serious than visible ones. Henry leaves him wandering in the field—the tattered man has become confused, begins to call Henry by the name of Tom Jamison, and starts to have the look of death about him. Henry wishes he were dead because it would be easier to hide the guilt of his crime.


When the tattered man starts to display signs of dying, Henry flees, which is something he will come to regret once he matures later in the story. However, at this point, he wishes again he were dead to hide his guilt of running away from battle. With Henry's helping his neighbor Jim Conklin and the tattered man's recounting the story of his neighbor Tom Jamison, Crane emphasizes that regiments in the Civil War were made up of men from one town or geographical area and that they knew each other.

Henry's abandonment of the tattered man and his wish for his own death show his lack of maturity at this point in the novel. He has not yet come to respect the inevitability of death, thinking he can flee from it, and he has not yet come to respect sacrifice, and he wishes for death to hide guilt.

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