Set during the American Civil War, Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage is an examination of the motives and emotions of men in combat. Afraid of disgracing himself through cowardice, young Henry Fleming approaches his first battle with trepidation, chilled by an encounter with a corpse in the woods. Henry acquits himself adequately in a brief skirmish, but then runs away during a second action. When the shaken soldier returns to his unit, he is ashamed that he has no wound, no “red badge of courage”, to show the “tattered soldier” who questions him. Later, in a vividly gruesome scene, a fellow soldier is killed right before Henry’s eyes. After several misadventures, a disoriented Henry ends up back with his own battalion. He fights ably in another battle, and knows he can now regard himself as a real soldier. Henry recognizes his earlier cowardice, but now understands that he has been inoculated against “the red sickness of battle.” The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel that high school readers will find truthful, and jarringly authentic, a trait that has garnered Crane's novel high praise.