The Red Badge of Courage Chapters 8-10 Summary

When Henry hears gunfire in chapter eight, he ironically begins to run toward the battle. Nature fought against him as he pushed through branches to exit the forest. Finally, he climbed over a fence to find some clothes, guns, and dead soldiers. As he continued on, he came across some wounded men walking away from the fight. Some were bleeding or near death as they hobbled along. A tattered man began to walk alongside of Henry. He bled from his head and his arm as he spoke to Henry about the battle. Pleased with the soldiers' performance in the battle, he asked Henry where he'd been hit. Henry didn't know how to respond since he hadn't fought, so he slipped through the crowd and left the man.

Three paragraphs in to chapter nine we find a reference to the title of the novel. As Henry continues to walk among the wounded, he alternates between feeling shame and envy for those men who are bleeding around him. He wishes he had his own "red badge of courage." Then Henry spots the tall soldier, Jim Conklin, and runs up to him stammering his name. Jim, surprised to see Henry, shows him his wounded hand and explains that because he hadn't seen Henry, he was worried he had died. Jim confesses that he's afraid of being run over by an artillery wagon, so Henry promises to take care of him. Henry then offered to help him as he walked along, but Jim wanted to be left alone. Another soldier warned Henry that a battery was approaching, so he should get Jim off of the road. Dazedly, Jim agreed to move into the woods. When Henry turned around to look for the battery approaching, Jim took off running into the woods. Henry didn't understand what was happening to Jim, who still insisted on being left alone. He and another tattered soldier watched as Jim went through a series of spasms before falling onto the ground dead. Henry pulled back his jacket to see a huge wound in his side.

In chapter ten the tattered man marvels that Jim Conklin was a "re'lar jim-dandy" for surviving as long as he did. He then mentions to Henry that he doesn't feel very well himself. They walked away from the corpse as Henry worried that he was about to witness another death. The tattered soldier told him he wasn't ready to die yet. Then he inquired about Henry's injuries, saying they might be worse than he realizes, and he should really check on them. Henry's shame returned and as he started to walk away, the soldier's condition deteriorated. He slurred his words and referred to Henry as Tom Jamison, the name of his longtime friend. Henry chose to climb a fence and escape the man's ramblings whom he noticed wandering around the field. Henry then wished he was dead. He knew that his crime of fleeing the battle would continue to be discovered by others, and he didn't know what do do about it.

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