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Stephen Crane's A Mystery of Heroism Essay

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Stephen Crane's A Mystery of Heroism

Stephen Crane, an avant-garde writer of his time, forced his readers to look beyond his written words for a more underlined, meaningful moral in most of his stories. Crane follows a strict pattern in most of his work. His subject matter usually deals with the physical, emotional, and intellectual responses of ordinary people confronted by extraordinary, extreme experiences. Fairly common themes are presented in his writing, including fallen humanity and harsh realities; yet all seem to overlap in the category of heroism. Crane, fascinated by the status of a hero, seemed to moralize each story he wrote with a sense of hope. Readers get the impression that you do not have to be super-human to
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When at home his mother had aroused him for the early labor of his life on the farm, it had often been his fashion to be irritable, childish, diabolical, and his mother died since he had come to war."

On Collins’ return to his regiment, he happens across a dying man in need of a drink. In a hopeless act of kindness, Fred lets the wounded soldier drink from his bucket as he passes. Yet this scene is but a small paragraph in the story, it completes the moral and emphasizes Crane’s goal of the narrative. Although Fred Collins is but a simple man not free from flaws, he uncovers the mystery of heroism. He is not a hero because he put a title upon himself, or because he denied death the satisfaction. He is a hero in the sense that he did a good thing without trying for that "hero" title. Yet he might not know it, he was a hero for that one moment in the eyes of the wounded soldier. Crane also shows heroism works in very mysterious ways.

In another of Crane’s shorts, The Bride Comes To Yellow Sky, the character of Jack Potter is put to the task of proving his heroism as sheriff of his town. As the story opens, the reader is introduced to Jack as a subtle, quiet man. He is on his way to Yellow Sky, Texas riding in a parlor-car with his new wife. Crane purposely does not clue the reader in as to the true
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