Emily's Reviews > The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Nov 29, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: classics
Read in November, 2008 , read count: 1

I feel almost guilty about how much I disliked this book. I know it's an important piece of literature, that it changed the way people viewed war, it's an American classic, etc. etc. But I could NOT stand it. I thought it was boring and I didn't really care what happened to the main character. I was totally distracted by how the author called him "the youth" instead of his name and I had to have my brother-in-law explain to me what the point of it was since I just couldn't tell. Maybe my tastes will mature someday, but I wouldn't count on it.
72 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Red Badge of Courage.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

04/05 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-33 of 33) (33 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ryan (new) - added it

Ryan I have tried reading this several times and felt the same way, only unlike you, I couldn't even finish it. LOL At least you read it all before hating it. :-)

message 2: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Oh good, I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

message 3: by Martha (new)

Martha I'm with you Emily, I could not read that book though.

message 4: by Jill (new) - rated it 1 star

Jill I totally agree. I hate that the author never called anyone by his name. I had a hard time feeling connected to any of the characters because of it. It was actually hard for me to keep them all straight.

message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha Dad said, "This is one of the best books I ever read!" Dad REALLY said this...JUST NOW!!! He even remembers the symbolism of the red badge and the irony of what courage is really all about". I swear, he just said this. Isn't that just like Dad??? He said, Oh Emily just doesn't appreciate good literature! Ahhhhhh!
Love, Mom, who is more like you...

Mark I had the same problem. "The Youth" and I didn't relate and I think it was Stephen Cranes' fault. :)

Lissette Well, the reason he kept calling him " The Youth" and the others " the tattered soldier" and stuff was so the reader wouldn't become attached to the characters in the book.
I read this book for school, and didn't enjoy it very much because I felt rushed while I read. If I read it at my own pace, I would have enjoyed it more.

Rick Boyne I only read it because it was required reading back in high school. I thought it was pretty boring back then!

Capsguy People with this opinion tend to read the same trashy popular fiction nowadays. I think the fault lies within you.

message 10: by jackie (new)

jackie Totally agree with you, Emily.

message 11: by Gabriel (new) - added it

Gabriel While this review may or not be an accurate reflection of the book, it's hard not to take reviews like this with a grain of salt. This is same site that ranks Twilight as one of "the best books of all time."

message 12: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick H Yeah, seriously. Why is it so hard to distinguish a character who is called "the Youth?" And did it maybe occur to you that it is a writing technique that maybe Stephen Crane didn't want the reader to "connect" with the Youth?

Melody Fried Relief--HATED it in 10th grade and have said since then (1973) that it was my most despised book of all time! Now, almost 40 years later (40!?!?!?--I thought I'd be dead before I ever said anything like "40 years later."), I have this nagging thought that I should reread it because my distaste for the book probably had more to do with the lack of respect I had for my teacher and my low level of maturity.

Maybe it's just a crappy book....

Emily Melody wrote: "Relief--HATED it in 10th grade and have said since then (1973) that it was my most despised book of all time! Now, almost 40 years later (40!?!?!?--I thought I'd be dead before I ever said anythin..."

You sound wonderful-we are friends :)

Colleen Stone This is a battle of the sexes!

message 16: by Brynn (new) - added it

Brynn I am glad I´m not the only one who had trouble fighting through it.

Brianna You are so right, I admit I am not sure why it is such a important piece of literature. Surely their are other books that are So much better.

Wayne Sutton agreed. this book was boring and too slow

message 19: by Kori (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kori I didn't completely HATE the book, but yeah, the point of it just flew over my head as well. ._. It reminded me of Brave New World in the way that I really didn't understand what the point was.

message 20: by Josie (new)

Josie I got about 3 chapters in and I just put the book down. I have a thing about finishing books; no matter how terrible, but this one was just so awful that I just couldn't. I put the book down and I did not pick it back up.

message 21: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick H Just an observation, but if you put this one down and didn't finish it then you obviously don't have a thing about finishing books no matter how awful. Your entire post is contradictory. Furthermore, it isn't really a review of book content. Just says that the material was either too difficult for you to hang with, or you were too lazy to finish it.

message 22: by Josie (new)

Josie Look, I did not comment on this post to be smart mouthed by some perfectionist. I didn't like the way it was written, and it was extremely boring. You think you know me, "you just couldn't hang with the content or you were just too lazy to pick it back up." But in truth, I actually have a life, a job, responsibilities, and a house to keep up. So don't you dare even think for a second that I was too lazy to pick it back up, or that I couldn't hang with the content. I'm homeschooled, ding dong. I think I can hang with the content. I like to finish what I start, but sometimes that's just not possible, and with the circumstances at the time, it wasn't possible. You're the kind of know-it-all person that's always commenting on posts and bringing other people down. Stop assuming you know other's business. News flash: YOU DON'T. Get a life, okay? Stop ruining other peoples and making them feel like they're stupid.

message 23: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick H "Home schooled...", gotcha.

Might I recommend a book on anger management?

message 24: by Josie (new)

Josie You just have to, don't you?

message 25: by Kate (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kate I absolutely loved it reading it now at 21, but I have no doubt if I had come across it at 15 or 16 I would have hated it with extreme passion. I think for me what I ended up enjoying about it was that it was more about larger themes than about the actual events themselves. I personally liked that Crane called "Henry" youth because it allowed me to really just immerse myself in the book, I wasn't paying as much attention to the character as I was just listening to the story and seeing/hearing/feeling what the character felt. I think the point of it was to allow us to better put ourselves into the story, instead of reading a story about someone else we were taking part in a story.

message 26: by Amin (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amin Bavarsad Why don't you try Harry Potter then?!

Barb Davies I didn't like it either and I've been told it was a classic. I couldn't tell who was who? If he ran away from his battalion or not? I made no sense of it at all. This will sound funny but I got down to the last 20 pages and I had to put my hands up and the book down. I tortured myself long enough

Mandkturnercomcast.net Agree this was a struggle to keep reading at times but think we need to realize WHEN it was written. Read to my son. Loved that he drew a picture one day & told me the "guy's red spot" was his "red badge of courage!" Out of the mouths of babes;)

message 29: by Tracy (new) - rated it 1 star

Tracy Berns Completely agreed! It's even worse on audiobook though, believe me. I limped through the paltry 4 cds trying to make sense of where we were in the story: couldn't even figure out when he deserted, until much after the fact. I too feel guilty though, especially since I was supposed to have read this 30 years ago in school! Now I see why I never did...

Cindy Lofgren The reason the characters are not identified by their names is because their thoughts, fears and actions are of "all of the soldiers".

message 31: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Boyle I disagree, your tastes will mature but you may still not like this book. It is not close to my favorite but reading it as a classic and as a potential author I found it to be a learning experience. The main plot was sustained, the scenes linked well especially for the time it was written, and the use of "the youth" was interesting though, like you, I didn't like it.

Morgan Stell My thoughts exactly! I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn't... At all.

Cobygirl517 If I were to write a review of this book, it would be this review, word for word.

back to top