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Free Study Guide-The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane-Online Summary
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CHAPTER 10

Summary

The Tattered man admires Jim Conklin, calling him "a reg'lar jim- dandy fer nerve.". The Youth falls down crying and is roused by the Tattered Man, urging him to move on. When he sees the Tattered Man swaying dizzily, he jumps up afraid the Tattered Man will die too. They walk away. The Tattered Man again asks the Youth about his wound, a question that brings back his desertion and guilt. Henry resents the soldier for his curiosity and looks at him with contempt.


The Tattered Man is getting worse and becomes disoriented. He thinks the Youth is Tom Jameson, his next door neighbor back home. He also talks about his refusal to die since his own children need him. The Youth recognizes signs of imminent death. He realizes the Tattered Man is acting just like Jim Conklin did before he died. The Youth runs away and looks back to see the Tattered Man wandering helpless in the field. Henry wishes that he himself were dead; then he would not have to worry about concealing his crime of desertion.

Notes

The Youth's age is of paramount importance here. He is too young to be able to deal with two deaths in a row, and he flees for the second time. Fleeing from the Tattered Man's death adds to his sense of guilt and shame. Now he has deserted the battle and a dying comrade that he respected.

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