Stephen Crane took a unique approach to storytelling when he wrote “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”. He did not just focus on the hero alone; he also talked about the bride and included her in the title to advertise her importance in the story. The symbolism in this story makes it more interesting.
The role that each character in a story plays is very important, though each character’s idea of their own part may not be the identical as other characters’. For example, Jack sees his role as the town sheriff, though the Bride, and now Scratchy, sees him as the husband. With more of the story having been written, we maybe would have seen that the people of the town share Jack’s understanding of his role as the sheriff. The bride sees herself in a different way as well. She, having come from a different scenery with a different role before she got married, feels out of place, while Jack has more confidence in her, and sees her simply as his wife, and not to cook. “It was quite apparent that she had cooked, and that she expected to cook, dutifully”. (254). The way each character views their role defines much of the way the story carries out.
The idea that the other characters have of another character’s role determines quite a bit of how they interact with each-other. We see this in the final section of the story, when Scratchy’s determined idea of Jack’s being ‘the sheriff’ is torn down and exchanged with his understanding of Jack as a married man. The difference, even if only in his mind, is drastic, and completely changes the way he interacts with Jack. In this story, the “glittering” parlor car symbolizes the transformation in the Bride’s life. It contrasts with her “plan, underclass countenance” (254) and represents her new life as a wife instead of a cook. But it also creates a mood of anxiety or worry. The Bride is not yet at ease in her new lifestyle and role, and she projects it outside and inside. Inside, she views other people as judging her, making her nervous, and therefore, on the outside, she looks misplaced, as she ‘twisted her head to regard her puff sleeves…
They embarrassed her” (254). The last sentence of the story has far more meaning than is comprehended at first glance. This very distinctive finale plays many roles in the final mood of the story, and resolves many struggles very quickly. When examined carefully, it is visible that the ending is ironic. This means that in the story, the sentence sums up the ironic fact that Scratchy has been defeated, and not by sword, but by the woman. The sentence also generates an ironic ending for the story, as it is an unexpected ending, contradicting the expected outcome of a shootout or fight or sorts.
Instead, the hero raises not a hand, and the villain surrenders without putting up a fight. By using the unique, descriptive ending that Crane does, the unexpectedness of the outcome with “funnel-shaped tracks” (261), it brings out the irony that the anticipation and eagerness the story has “geared up” is then just shot down, with no shots fired at all. Cranes characters fit into the town because they fit together with themselves. Each one has a place, or role, and they carry it out without conflicting with another’s role. Cranes unique approach to this story was different.
Courtney from Study Moose
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