Writers of books try to relate the attitude of the characters to some part of life. Every book has a main character that represents the normal person, usually a person that the writer would like to be like, this character goes through some tough times and some fun times that makes you wish that you could be there. The book also has other characters that represent the real world and the problems it has. The main character has to deal with the other characters which represents us dealing with life. Because the main character has to deal with the same problems as us, which makes it feel real and makes it easier for us to relate to them. The tattered solider, Jim Conklin, wilson, and the youth all have characteristics that makes it easier for us to relate to them.
Physical and emotional pain is what the tattered solider illustrates in the book. The tattered solider’s pain comes from all of the horrible things associated with war. Him going crazy brings emotional pain and the physical pain is brought on by the endurance of war. “There was a tattered man, fouled with dust, blood and powder stain from hair to shoes, who trudged quietly at the youths side.” (pg 50) The tattered solider also characterizes the toughness people can endear. “… the tattered soldier had two wounds, one in the head and the other in the arm, making that member dangle like a broken bough.” (pg 51) “‘Was a pretty good fight, wa’n't it?’ Said the tattered man.” (pg 51) Even through the harshness of war people will find something inside of them, overcome it and not let it bother them. “His homely face was suffused with a light of love for the army which was to him all things beautiful and powerful.” (pg 51) The tattered solider goes out and lives through the tough endurance of war but he finds something inside of him to live through it.
The perfect solider is what Jim Conklin brings to the book. Jim never complains about war and fights as good as the next man. “”Yes, b’jiminey, I got shot.” He reiterated this fact in a bewildered way, as if he did not know how it came about.” (pg 53) Many of the people look up to Jim because he is so strong willed. “The youth put forth anxious arms to assist him, but the tall soldier went firmly on as if propelled.” (pg 53) The regiment looks up to Jim in a spiritual way finding peace inside of them when they think of him. It is a tragedy when Jim dies because of all of the moral inspiration he gave the regiment. True to his character Jim dies a quiet and peaceful death not distributing any of the regiment.
Wilson represents the two sides of human nature. In the beginning of the book Wilson is a mean tough guy that no one liked. “‘Oh, we’ve got ‘em now!’…his boyish face was wreathed in a gleeful smile, and his voice had an exultant ring.” (pg 16) This outward act of being tuff is just a cover of the true nature of Wilson. It is natural for people to cover their true nature in front of new faces. Towards the end of the book Wilson starts to care about Henry. When Henry is injured and he doesn’t try and fight the other men anymore. True to human nature once times start getting more difficult and Wilson becomes more comfortable with his surroundings he transcends into the calm compassionate person he really is.
The youth shows the two main different kinds of solders. In the beginning of the book the youth showed fear and question about the war. “They must not all be killed like pigs; and he was sure it would come to pass unless they were informed of the dangers.” (Pg 23) Like a lot of normal people the youth fears death and pain. After he witnessed the death of Jim Conklin he accepts death as something that comes and returns to his regiment. This is when his other side shows through. During his second fight he stopped thinking and just reacted. “Once he, in his intent hate, was almost alone, and was firing, when all those near him had ceased.” (pg 94) He is now a fighting machine.
All of the characters in the Red Badge of Courage represent some aspect of man either physically or emotionally. This connection between the characters and the reader make the book true to life and more believable. Since the characters feel so real, physically and emotionally, the reader has an easier time relating to them.