Bloom's How to Write about Stephen Crane
For its follow-up, he doubled down on the lyricism and added an epic theme. He chose as its central image the heroic structure outside his apartment window, and he invested it with a heavy symbolic burden. The bridge of The Bridge was to span time and space—Crane celebrated the technological achievements of the 20th century, marveling at elevators and zeppelins and subways, while simultaneously invoking a vanished pre-European world. Onward and up the crystal-flooded aisle White tempest nets file upward, upward ring With silver terraces the humming spars, The loft of vision, palladium helm of stars.
By most accounts, he failed—spectacularly. It resists ordinary critical analysis. The aim was to study the world as Crane, a first-order autodidact, studied it.
Add to Wishlist. USD Product Details. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. Shulman, Robert. Remember that it is important to include quotation marks when you use language from your source, even if you use just a few words. In this case, you have properly credited Jackson. Similarly, neither summarizing the ideas of an author nor changing or omitting just a few words means that you can omit a citation. In their exposed situation the men achieve a community that is their main resource against the natural forces and intellectual barriers that threaten them.
Below are two examples of plagiarism using the above passage: Crane shows the closeness of the men in the dinghy. Then he shows the correspondent recognizing how important community is in their fight against nature and their own prejudices. This idea of community is the organizing principle of the story. Because some of the wording in the second remains the same, though, it would require the use of quotation marks, in addition to a parenthetical citation. This passage acknowledges that the interpretation is derived from Shulman while appropriately using quotations to indicate his precise language.
While it is not necessary to document well-known facts, often referred to as common knowledge, any ideas or language that you take from someone else must be properly documented. Common knowledge generally includes the birth and death dates of authors or other well-documented facts of their lives. When in doubt, document your source. This novel follows an enlistee, Henry Fleming, through only two days of battle. Eager to prove his heroism, the young Union soldier soon confronts the reality of war as opposed to the romantic notions he has developed from hearing tales told by veterans and from reading heroic epics.
In this novel, the untried soldiers all want to appear brave in battle, but the protagonist soon finds himself running from the first skirmish. She first tries to discourage him from enlisting, and after he does, she scolds him. His mother, in fact, deals with practical issues, such as supplying him with socks and shirts, and with what she deems more important philosophical issues, such as individual responsibility. Henry is irritated that her speech contains nothing about honor or glory but instead points out his small part in the war and his moral responsibility to do whatever is right.
Her advice does not deter him, however, from seeking that coveted glory. When he gets his blue uniform, he first goes to the school to say goodbye to his classmates, and he revels in their attention, especially from one girl who has caught his eye. This sense of heroism has allowed Henry to continue to perceive war as glorious. The waiting seems to go on forever. They find themselves with plenty of time to think about the ensuing melee, and they talk among themselves. Although Henry never voices his fears, he is afraid that he will look like a coward, and he questions his fellow soldiers.
The three identified recruits—Jim Conklin, Wilson, and Henry Fleming—all talk about the idea of courage, or the opposite idea of cowardice, speculating on whether or not they might run from battle. None of them admits that possibility, but they all deal with it in different ways. Jim, often referred to as the tall soldier, philosophically replies that if everyone else stands and fights, he will probably fight also.
Jim seems wise in his careful consideration. Jim also seems to be the one whom the other recruits most admire. He regales them with predictions of imminent fighting, but he is incorrect in heralding the beginning of battle, which seems to the eager recruits never to come. In spite of his seeming bravery, ironically, it is Jim who does not survive the first battle. The second recruit, Wilson, at first called the loud soldier, will also not admit to his fear. When asked if he will do great things in battle, Wilson reports that he will probably do well: The loud soldier blew a thoughtful cloud of smoke from his pipe.
Of course not. He fights automatically at first because he is part of a machine-like movement forward. At that point he declares to himself that he has been tried and found brave in battle. When the fighting resumes, however, the youth sees the strength of the opposing army and observes one, then two, then more of his comrades running in fear.
After he does actually run, he is distraught, worrying about what others in his regiment will think of him now. As he comes upon badly wounded men, he longs for a wound himself so that he has an excuse for retreating. Later he takes advantage of a superficial injury accidently inflicted by the butt of a gun. Henry then abandons the dying man, whom he could have helped. Relieved at the opportunity to avoid ridicule, Henry allows the formerly loud soldier, Wilson, to treat him like an injured hero.
At the point when Henry feels he has made his mark as a soldier, even though he knows that mark is fake, he has the opportunity to display true courage. Both he and Wilson go into the battle willingly, and they fight their hardest. When the regimental flag -bearer is struck down, Henry grabs the flag and risks his life by carrying it high enough to rally his own forces while making himself a more visible target for the enemy. This pronouncement strongly suggests that true courage requires a person to put the safety of others above the concern for self. Mitchell, Lee Clark. Lee Clark Mitchell.
New York: Cambridge UP, Nagel, James. Stephen Crane and Literary Impressionism. A rebel against the strict religious teachings of his father, a Methodist minister, and his mother, a temperance worker, Crane brought unwelcomed attention to himself by witnessing in court for Dora Clark, a prostitute in New York City. As a result of publicity in that case, Crane was never welcome again in that city, where Theodore Roosevelt was commissioner of police at the time.
The negative publicity, his penchant for choosing to roam the Bowery and the less desirable areas of other cities, and his living in England with his common-law wife, who had been a proprietor of a brothel in Jacksonville, Florida, led to his reputation as a somewhat disreputable young man. When such facts came to light after his death, important men of letters such as Hamlin Garland and Joseph Conrad began to express less enthusiasm for his work. Although the book revived interest in the rebellious, somewhat exotic writer whom Beer portrayed, it has greatly complicated writing about Crane.
In addition, any writer must realize that later biographies, such as those by John Berryman and R. Since the techniques of literary realism prevented Crane from using a narrator who tells the reader what to think or how to judge the content, sometimes it is easy to believe that Crane is the actual narrator of the text and that the text should be taken quite literally.
Instead, Crane as the author uses other methods to allow the reader to form his or her own opinion about the characters and the events in the works. Seldom should his words be taken literally. In his own writing, Crane went beyond the techniques that Howells advocated, with his own techniques coming close to those of what would later be called modernism. As you are reading, you might imagine how you would see the characters and actions on a movie screen. In the movies, the hard work is done for you, but when you read, you must visualize for yourself.
You should then, however, formulate your own argument about his writing. As you are reading a novel, a short story, or a poem closely and working to answer some of the questions posed throughout this book, you will make discoveries on your own that can be as valid as those of other critics. Never underestimate your own critical powers or tell yourself that everything has already been written.
You may then wonder what to do with the information you have gathered from your secondary sources. First, of course, you need to choose a particular novel, story, or poem on which to focus, or you may choose a combination of more than one work with the focus on a particular idea or topic. Be careful not to choose a topic that is too broad, since you cannot adequately discuss several works or several ideas in a few pages.
For example, an ordinary class paper could not begin to make a strong argument about war in the novels, short stories, and poems of Stephen Crane; such a broad topic will result in an essay that does not go beyond the obvious, in other words, a weak essay and a poor grade. An essay without a clear and compelling purpose in the introduction is likely to lose the reader before its end. The suggested topics given here should serve only as examples to get you to think about what in the text or texts really interests you. If you have good reasons for your choice, begin by conveying those reasons to your readers, and then support the major points of your thesis, and you will have the basis of a sound argument.
When you choose to use a thematic approach, a wide assortment of choices become open. You can include other works for a particular theme, or you can discover themes not suggested here. Importance of community: How does Stephen Crane show the importance of community and social interaction in his work? Begin by selecting novels or short stories that seem to say something about community, either the importance of it or its lack. Would you say these communities are wrong in their exclusion of Pete Johnson or Maggie or the monster?
Does the narrative seem to favor the communities or the expelled member? What is the evidence? What seems to cause that isolation? For this essay, choose one or more Crane texts that feature a character caught up in romantic illusions. On the other hand, you might look at Maggie in the novel Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, whose romantic or idealized ideas of Pete are never realistic. In other words, what constitutes a hero?
Would you say they all display the same type of heroism? What are the examples of true heroism as opposed to perceived heroism? How do the other characters regard heroism? Another possibility is to analyze characters who represent religions or religious philosophies. Whichever type of character you choose, you will need to reread the works in which they appear, taking careful notes as you complete your review. How does he represent soldiers? How does he portray women throughout his work? After carefully studying and taking notes on each soldier character, consider these questions.
What do the various soldiers have in common? What seem to be their major concerns? What generalizations can you reach about how Crane portrays soldiers? Which type is most important? How do they function in the story, especially when they are not central to the plot? Her fullest experience of violence was gained on an occasion when she had seen a hound clubbed, but in the plan which she had made for the reform of the world she advocated drastic measures.
For instance, she contended that all the Turks should be pushed into the sea and drowned, and that Mrs. In fact, this woman of peace, who had seen only peace, argued constantly for a creed of illimitable ferocity. History and Context At the end of the nineteenth century, when Stephen Crane lived and wrote, the country was undergoing changes on a great scale.
Industrialization was in full swing, giving rise to more opportunities and greater possibilities of wealth while also virtually imprisoning the underclasses in factories for long hours each day. Railroads criss-crossed the country, allowing more ease of transportation and communication and opening up the nation to greater westward expansion, but there was also the feeling that the opportunities of the West had been somewhat exhausted.
The country was still recuperating from the most devastating war in its history, with both a sense of nostalgia and a sense of loss of an older way of life. Although the Civil War had brought about the freeing of slaves some three decades earlier, racism was at its peak with newly enacted Jim Crow laws and record numbers of lynchings. At the same time that newspapers had become important means of communication, yellow journalism often exploited topics of public interest, not for the public good but to make money.
While the United States had managed to avoid war for three decades, numerous small wars had erupted over the world with our country later becoming involved in the Spanish-American War near the end of the decade. As you can see, the atmosphere in which Stephen Crane wrote was rich with contradictions and with opportunities for exploring current problems and analyzing past events.
At the time Crane was writing, the West represented a newer, rougher, perhaps more honest way of life to many easterners. How does Crane demythologize the West? Ultimately, what does he contribute to our knowledge of the West as a distinct section of the country? You might consider how characters act according to their personal conceptions of right or wrong.
Stephen Crane The Red Badge Of Courage Essay
He again and again explores the psychological underpinnings of his characters. Psychological exploration of characters: How does Crane use newly developed ideas of psychology to explore motivation in his work? Although Crane may or may have not read this volume, he became friends in England with Henry James, the brother of William, whose ideas of psychology had seeped into the public sphere. Form and Genre If you plan to write a paper considering form and genre, you will deal with how the literary work is constructed.
Plot is less important than characterization, with the often complicated ethics of a situation or decision most important. The narrator remains as objective as possible, never openly assessing a character or situation. This distance is then juxtaposed with his evident horror at realizing his arm will be amputated. What had seemed trivial soon becomes of utmost importance to the character, and it later is of great magnitude to his family when he arrives home with an empty sleeve.
In the genre of poetry, Crane is also innovative. The later imagistic poems were usually written in free verse and centered on an important image that suggested rather than stated the message. Can you determine who the narrator is? Ask yourself what kinds of information the narrator has and what seems to be his or her motivation in revealing the particular details he or she gives.
In The Red Badge of Courage, for example, why does the narrator go into so much detail about the ants crawling on the face of the corpse Henry encounters in the woods? Like other short story writers, he limited the length of the piece, focused on one or two main characters, developed one theme within the work, and often concluded with an unexpected twist. What techniques does Crane use in his short stories?
What is his typical focus? What are the narrative strategies? How does he create interest and sustain it? What does this conclusion contribute to the theme of the story? Do most of his stories end with this type of surprise? What makes them unique? What is the essential image in each? What message is suggested, and how does that message remain open-ended? Why do these poems still speak to us as readers today? Crane valued his poems as expressing his philosophy of life? What do you suppose he means by that term? How would you describe his philosophy after having read a wide selection of his poetry?
Symbolically, however, this piece of cloth represents more than can be conveyed in a simple assessment. To many Americans, it represents a pride in country, a sense of patriotism, a feeling of love for liberty.
Perhaps these images suggest a larger symbolic structure, but the images themselves almost never quite rise to the level of symbol. Keep in mind that you will need to show how such imagery contributes to an overall theme of these works. How do they tie in with the theme of religion and religious practices?
Imagery connected to knightly battles or trials: How does Crane use the images of medieval literature or chivalry in his work? Color imagery: How does Crane use colors to indicate more than decorative embellishments in his work? Then choose two or three works to analyze in terms of color usage.
Why is the badge red, the hotel blue, and the sky yellow? What emotional tones are associated with the colors? What other actual objects are associated with the colors? What does the choice of color indicate in each individual work? When you consider his oeuvre, or work as a whole, how does Stephen Crane use color in a way unique to his own writing? If you stop at that point, you will have only a list, not a thesis or argument.
To arrive at an authentic analysis, you must also explain why these relationships are important to an interpretation of the text. What is similar? How does this comparison help to reveal theme in each of the stories? Does it remain the same or does it change? If it changes, what is the importance of these changes? Since both these novels deal with war and reactions to war, you might want to compare the two protagonists, Henry Fleming and Frederick Henry.
Noting even the similarities of their names, consider how the two men are alike in other ways. How do their characterizations contribute to a statement about war itself? Bibliography and Online Resources Ahnebrink, Lars.
Bassan, Maurice, ed. Benfey, Christopher. The Double Life of Stephen Crane. Bergon, Frank. Berryman, John. Stephen Crane. Booth, Wayne. The Rhetoric of Fiction. Brown, Bill. Cady, Edwin H. Boston: G. Cazemajou, Jean. Colvert, James B. Crane, Stephen. The Works of Stephen Crane. Davis, Linda H. Davis, Richard Harding. Harold Bloom and Joyce Caldwell Smith. Dooley, Patrick K. The Pluralistic Philosophy of Stephen Crane. Esteve, Mary. Fagg, John. Fried, Michael.
Gilkes, Lillian. Cora Crane: A Biography of Mrs. Green, Carol Hurd. Bonnie Szumski. Fritz Fleischmann. Gullason, Thomas A. Halliburton, David. Holton, Milne. Howells, W. Criticism and Fiction. Iser, Wolfgang. James, William.
Stephen Crane - Biography and Works. Search Texts, Read Online. Discuss.
George A. Knapp, Daniel. LaFrance, Marston. A Reading of Stephen Crane. Linson, Corwin Knapp. My Stephen Crane. Edwin Cady. Marshall, Edward. Monteiro, George. Orgeron, Marsha. Jerilyn Silber Fisher, Ellen S. Sadker, and David Sadker. Pizer, Donald. Stuart Levine and Susan F. Pratt, Lyndon Upson.
Solomon, Eric. Stephen Crane: From Parody to Realism. Stallman, R. Stephen Crane: A Biography. Surfrin, Mark. Vanouse, Donald. Weatherford, Richard M. Stephen Crane: The Critical Heritage. Wertheim, Stanley. A Stephen Crane Encyclopedia. Wertheim, Stanley, and Paul Sorrentino. New York: G. The Correspondence of Stephen Crane. Wolford, Chester L. First serialized in newspapers and then released as a book, the novel gained him almost instant international fame, with positive critical reviews both in the United States and in England.
Although he had previously written numerous newspaper reports and had privately printed Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, he had received little acclaim until Red Badge, which remains his most popular work. Although the events of the novel take place over only a few days, Crane provides much insight into the psychology of the new recruit, who dreams of heroism in battle but who soon faces the grim reality of war.
Because any good piece of literature yields new insights with each rereading, you should read a passage multiple times, giving particular attention to the language and how it is used. Then ask how the sense of the passage would change with the replacement of key words with synonyms or with the rearrangement of sentences. Tales of great movements shook the land. They might not be distinctly Homeric, but there seemed to be much glory in them. He had read of marches, sieges, conflicts, and he had longed to see it all. His busy mind had drawn for him large pictures, extravagant in color, lurid with breathless deeds.
But his mother had discouraged him. She had had certain ways of expression that told that her statements on the subject came from a deep conviction. The references in this passage to tales of great battles make it a particularly interesting one to analyze. Does the author suggest that language can both disguise and reveal human behaviors as either noble or self-serving?
The passage itself suggests that it does. Does the language suggest that war should be fought only for reasons that are noble? Does it suggest that enlistees are not always truthful about their motives? Based on the novel, is this type of glory something to be sought? What would be a more honorable motivation?
Rather than limit or constrict you, they should spark your imagination. Do not look at these essay topics as a series of questions to be answered in sequence; instead, use them as springboards to your own ideas about a given topic. You might note, for example, the various wounds that the individual soldiers incur, and you might decide that the wounds themselves are emblematic of the characterization of the men.
Once you have listed your ideas and analyzed several relevant passages in the novel, you will be ready to decide on your own claim and to use it as the basis for your essay. Your task in an essay will be to identify a primary theme and to show how this particular novel deals with it. The Red Badge of Courage deals, for example, with the themes of heroism, cowardice, maturity or coming of age, the role of nature, and perhaps even religion. Carefully read and reread these passages, paying close attention to the language and how it is used.
Then you can create a precise claim upon which to base your essay. Heroism: What does the novel say about heroism? Is heroism an absolute or is it dependent on point of view? Sometimes he inclined to believing them all heroes. In fact, he usually admired in secret the superior development of the higher qualities in others. Where has he gotten these ideas? How does that concept of heroism change by the end of the novel, or does it?
Analyze the scene where Henry Fleming runs from battle. Why does he run? How does he justify his retreat? How does he use that wound to his advantage? Would you characterize Henry as a coward at this point? Coming of age: According to the novel, what constitutes the state of manhood? Does the novel make the concept clear, or does it suggest that achieving maturity is more complicated than we might expect? He had been to touch the great death and found that, after all, it was but the great death.
Should this passage be read literally, or is Crane being ironic? If so, in what way? Will he never again be afraid in the midst of battle? Are there other requirements for manhood than just proving oneself in battle? If so, what are they, and has Henry achieved any of those?
In The Red Badge of Courage, we are presented with a number of characters who demand thorough investigation. Choose one of these characters who seems important and follow that person through the novel. Notice what he does and what he says. Is there a discrepancy between his thoughts and his actions? How does he interact with other characters? What are his values? What are his priorities? Is the character dynamic or static; that is, does he change over the course of the novel or does he stay the same?
If he changes, what are the reasons? Is it a permanent change or just one that seems convenient at the time? You might focus on Henry, for example, using your analysis to determine how the novel ultimately presents him. Is he brave or cowardly? Does Henry come to share any of those concerns? What is the function of other minor characters such as the tattered man or the cheery soldier? Henry Fleming: Analyze the character of Henry Fleming, following him throughout the novel.
How does Henry develop during the course of the narrative? Is this development positive or negative or somewhere in between? We are privileged to know his thoughts and fears, his actions, and his reactions to other characters. Why does the tattered man still haunt him? Sergio Perosa states about Henry Everything is related to his vision, to his sense-perception of incidents and details, to his sense-reactions rather than to his psychological impulses, to his confused sensations and individual impressions.
Jim Conklin: Analyze and evaluate the character of Jim. Jim Conklin, one of the more intriguing characters in The Red Badge of Courage, has been written about by many critics of the novel. How do Henry and other characters react to him? Is he as knowledgeable and stoic as Henry sees him? What does the path of the rumor say about Jim? How do the other young recruits react to him?
Does the novel present Jim as a hero? In addition, Wilson is described as giggling, not a particularly soldierly response. Does Wilson change in any way during the course of the novel; in other words, is he a dynamic or a static character? If dynamic, how does he change from the opening chapter to the end of the novel?
How is the tattered man characterized? What is his major concern as he speaks with Henry? What are his positive and negative attributes? Do any of them account for his nagging concern with the tattered man? Although Crane was born six years after the war had ended, the memory of it was still vivid for many citizens, with veterans continuing to retell the horrors of combat that had divided the country and killed more Americans than any other war.
He apparently had also listened to many tales of veterans, including one of his teachers at Claverack College. After the publication of The Red Badge, one of the most negative comments about the book came from A. Does McClurg have a case to say the book unfairly characterizes soldiers? Are all the soldiers portrayed as cowardly? Critique of war: What kind of commentary does the novel make about war in general?
Which points are most important? What has it probably done to the families left at home? These ideas range from questions about the ethics of war to the role of nature, or God, in our lives. Would it have been more ethical to send a stronger military unit? Why is Henry more concerned with his own small world than he is with the larger questions of why the war is being fought?
How can a large-scale battle strategy seem perhaps more ethical than the individual philosophy of one untried soldier? After performing your analysis and considering these questions, you might arrive at a thesis such as the following: In The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane demonstrates through the character of Henry that fears and self-interest often outweigh a sense of civic duty during war.
More excruciating events may await him to test both his courage and his ethics. No amount of battle glory will obscure the fact that he has not been compassionate to one of his own comrades in need. Post-traumatic stress: How does the novel suggest that interior wounds, or psychological wounds, are perhaps more important than physical wounds? Where is it located? He began to swear so wondrously that a nervous laugh went along the regimental line. It relieved the tightened senses of the new men. He held the wounded member carefully away from his side so that the blood would not drip upon his trousers Why is that important?
What does it reveal about Henry? Ethics in war: What kind of commentary does the novel make about ethics during wartime? After he has been careful in concealing his own fear, he chooses to let Wilson continue to believe he has been honorably wounded. Is it ethical to allow Wilson to believe a lie? What bothers him most at the end of the novel? Do any other characters act in ways that might be considered unethical?