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Courage is man’s pure will to push on in the face of danger. It is a person’s bravery, valor, and self-reliance that form the foundation of courage. Such is a quality of a hero and an ideal of a soldier. Courage is a quality of mind and is expressed through a man’s girth and sheer temerity in harsh challenges. The courageous person knows how to stand his or her ground and readily accept extreme conditions. He or she should be skilled in the art of self-defense and be able to deal, as well as take, a few punches. In the beginning of Stephan Crane’s renowned novel, The Red Badge of Courage, the title character, Henry Flemming, secretly lacks this quality. He hides his fear from the rest of his squadron even though he knows the severe crime of running form battle. He runs away nonetheless. Through a long series of denial and remorse, He finds his true courage in a final victory for his regiment. He reflects on his past experiences, both good and bad, and basks in the pride of finally earning his own red badge of courage.
I, too, have a similar tale of bravery and courage. When I was younger, my brother and I were picking peaches off the roof of our screen house. It was pretty high for a little boy and we only had a rickety, old barrel to use as a ladder. When we were through, my brother decided to jump off the roof and removed to barrel, revealing a narrow, yet deep, trench that double the height of roof. You can only imagine my fear. I begged my brother to replace the barrel, but he insisted that I jump. I was almost sure a fall like that would break something. I refused to jump. Later, my dad arrived and also abetted me to jump. I had no choice. I stared once at the ground and then straight ahead. I grit my teeth, held my breath and leaped as far as I could. I hit the ground with both feet and kept my balance. I was fine. I almost laughed at my foolishness. The jump wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
As I look back on the whole episode, I realize that it was the most courageous thing I’ve ever had to do (which, now that I think about it, is pretty pathetic). Still, it is a fine example of courage. Overcoming fears and standing your ground is one of the main bases of courage. True courage is not a physical attribute. It is doing what one knows is right despite inadequacies. The battlegrounds of courage are limitless. It may be a war zone, a political campaign, or even a school. Call it what you may: grit, guts, backbone, nerve, etc. Courage is a person’s complete and focused spirit towards a cause or goal. Courage resides neither in the brain nor brawn, but the heart. It is what drives initiative.
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