Document Type

Junior Award Winner

Award Date

Spring 2010

Course Name

Idea of the Individual


Dr. Adam Kotlarczyk


Though Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening are largely considered unrelated novels, they share one major idea: that of the failure of transformation. This is depicted in the respective evolutions of Crane’s Henry Fleming and Chopin’s Edna Pontellier, each of whom suffers a loss of identity in their respective awakenings. This idea is borne not out of imagination, but rather, the experiences of the authors themselves. Crane created Fleming to satirize his post-war world, while Chopin invented Edna to do the same in her sexually repressive society. Through the unsuccessful evolutions of their protagonists, these authors portray the ultimate impossibility in transcending the boundaries of their respective societies.