2000-2002 Student Queries

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Stephen Crane’s Siblings
How did Crane die?
Questions on Crane’s Life and Work
Analyzing Jack Potter and Scratchy Wilson (X)
Literary Devices in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” (X)
Use of Color in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”
Crane: Married? Children?
Naturalism in “The Blue Hotel”
The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”
“The Open Boat”
Animal References in Maggie 
Potter and his wife in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”
Title for Red Badge of Courage (X)
Round and Flat Characters (X)
Crane’s Philosophy
Report on Crane
Color in The Red Badge of Courage
Sunshine in The Red Badge of Courage
“The Sergeant’s Private Madhouse”
Contemporary works inspired by Stephen Crane
“The Wayfarer” (X)
Questions Replies
Stephen Crane’s Siblings
NAME: David Bates, morphius_45@yahoo.com
QUESTION: How did Stephen Crane’s siblings decease? I am using it in an English paper for a major grade and that’s why I need to know this.
Crane was the 14th and last child of Jonathan Townley Crane and Mary Helen (Peck) Crane (Crane Log 1). According to The Crane Log, “Only 8 of the 13 children who preceded Stephen are alive at the time of his birth” (1). His siblings are as follows (all references are from The Crane Log or from Thomas Gullason’s Stephen Crane’s Literary Family ) :

William Howe Crane (1854-1926) practiced law in Port Jervis, N. Y. and later retired to California. Gullason: “William was at Wesleyan University for a year, then New York University, before graduating from Albany Law School” (2).

Jonathan Townley Crane, Jr. (pronounced “Toonley”) (1858-1908) “died indigent in the local hospital” in Binghamton, N. Y. (xxxii)

Agnes Elizabeth Crane, a surrogate mother to Crane and a schoolteacher, d. 10 June 1884 at age 28 of “cerebrospinal meningitis in the home of her brother Edmund at Rutherford, New Jersey” (32).

Wilbur Fiske Crane (1859-1918) Gullason: “Wilbur attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia College from 1881-1886” (2). d. in a small town in Georgia.

Edmund Crane (450).

Mary Helen Crane Murray-Hamilton (451). Gullason: “Mary Helen (“Nellie”) graduated from Pennington Seminary and Female Collegiat Institute (where the Reverend Mr. Crane had served for nine years as its principal)” (1).

George Crane. George, Wilbur, William, Edmund, and Mary Helen were present at Stephen Crane’s funeral service at the Central Metropolitan Temple on 28 June 1900 (451).

Luther P. Crane d. 26 September 1886 in a fall beneath the wheels of a moving train (35). Gullason: “Three brothers, Luther, Wilbur, and Edmund (one alumni directory lists William instead of Edmund), along wth Agnes, went on to Centenary Collegiate Institute (now Centenary College)” (1).

–D. Campbell

Use of Color in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”
NAME: Elizabeth
QUESTION: I would like some insight regarding Crane’s use of color in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”.
Crane: Married? Children?
Hi I’m a student in H.S. and I’m doing a research project. I’m wondering
if you could answer some of my Questions, thanks.
1.Was he married, if so, to who?
2. Did he have children, if so, what were their names?
Crane had a common-law marriage with Cora Stewart.  Her husband would not divorce her, so she and Crane could not be legally married, although Crane always called her “Mrs. Crane.”  The two had no children.
You can find this information in various biographies of Crane, The Stephen Crane Encyclopedia by Stanley Wertheim, and  and also inThe Crane Log by Paul Sorrentino and Stanley Wertheim.  –D. Campbell
Naturalism and “The Blue Hotel”Michael Morgan
QUESTION: In what way does Stephen Crane the naturalist connect with the short story, “The Blue Hotel”?
I am unsure of the role of the gambler.  Why does the  fearful character, the Swede, have to be a foreigner? Is there a significance to this?
This is an interesting question.  You might want to think about how Crane uses stereotypes and beliefs in your discussion of this story.  Here are some articles on “The Blue Hotel” to help you.
“The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”
NAME: Christy nguyen
EMAILADDRESS: doi.doi.doi@hcm.vnn.vn
QUESTION: analyzing in The bride comes to Yellow sky of Stephen Crane
“The Open Boat” 
NAME: Joanne CarlsonQUESTION: I have to write a 750 word essay explaining how Steven Crane protrays the nature of the universe as “other” and how he defines human’s relationship to it and each other in “The Open Boat.”  Any hints as to any “symbolic   passages to the universe” this work contains?  I really don’t know where to begin.  thanks for any tips you can give me.
Many good articles have been written on this story; you might try doing a search of the bibliographies here at the SCS site.  Look also at how Crane uses the sea, the sky, the birds, and the sharks in this story. Look also at his use of the tower. See  the suggestions in the answer below.
How did Crane die?NAME: Britta Spaulding,loverofJesus_343@yahoo.com

QUESTION: I’m a student in M.S. and we’re reading Crane’s
THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. Could you tell me why he was compelled to write about war, considering that he never saw it before he wrote his famous novel? And how did he die? I know he was very
young, only 29. Why?

Crane died of tuberculosis, a common cause of death before antibiotics and other drugs were discovered to treat the disease. He had had the disease for a long time. According to The Crane Log, he suffered a lung hemorrhage on 29 December 1899 but kept writing to pay the bills throughout the spring of 1900.  He had  more hemorrhages on March 31st, and by April 14, the Academy, a journal, noted that Crane was “lying seriously ill at the mediaeval house in Sussex, Brede Place, where he has been living for the past two years.” At the end of May, 1900, Cora Crane takes Stephen to Badenweiler, Baden, for treatment, in a last-ditch effort to save his life.  Crane continues to dictate portions of his last novel, The O’Ruddy, but dies on June 5, 1900.About Crane’s interest in war:  see the questions below for some possible resources.
Questions on Crane’s Life and Work
NAME: Hanan Benjelloun, galatea1@caramail .comQUESTION: what in Crane’s life made of him a writer ? Was he a prolific writer? What are the themes that he deals with?    What are the themes that he deals with ? What kind of man was he ?
A good source for answering these questions would be the many books and articles on Crane.  Your library may have Patrick Dooley’s bibliography on Crane (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1992), which is annotated; that would be a good place to start.  If your library does not have this book, here are some suggestions:

  • For example, reading a biography of Crane (such as those by Christopher Benfey or Linda Davis) would give you a sense of the events of Crane’s early life and possibly the kind of person he was, as would reading Wertheim and Sorrentino’s The Crane Log and their edition of Crane’s letters. George Monteiro’s recent Stephen Crane’s Blue Badge of Courage is a good source on Crane’s youth.
  • These and The Stephen Crane Encyclopedia would also answer your questions about his themes and the number of works that he wrote.
  • You might also try collections of articles on Crane, such as Lee Clark Mitchell’s New Essays on The Red Badge of Courage or the collections edited by Bloom, Gullason, Bassan, and others. (See the bibliography at this site for other suggestions.)
  • If you want to look at Crane in his own times, see the works by Keith Gandal, Michael Robertson, and others in the bibliography.
Analyzing Jack Potter and Scratchy WilsonWhat are the characteristics of JACK POTTER AND SCRATCHY WILSON? Ike O. This is the kind of question that can best be answered by looking in the books suggested above or by sitting down, drawing a line down the center of a piece of paper, and thinking for a while about the question. Once you’ve thought about the story, start writing Jack Potter’s characteristics on one side and Scratchy’s on the other. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • How do the two characters contrast with one another? How are they alike?
  • What is the relationship between Scratchy and Jack Potter?  How what parts of the story tell you what their relationship is like?
  • What words does Crane use to give you clues about each person’s character? How are they dressed? What do they say? How do they interact with other characters? What does Crane’s narrative voice say about them?
  • How does the setting affect the way in which each character acts?  Why is the fact that they’re in the West important?
  • What difference does Jack’s wife make in their relationship?
Literary Devices in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”QUESTION: I have a report on literary devices due in 2 weeks. Crane’s story”The Bride comes to yellow sky” is the story I have to identify all the literary devices. I have no clue where to start! If you or anyone know some of the literary devices he used please tell me!   , Sarah This is another question where rereading the story carefully in light of the question and consulting the books mentioned above will help. Make a copy of the story so that you can underline and circle important words and phrases.

  • You would probably want to focus first on Crane’s use of images: how does he describe things?
  • What kinds of images does he use–sight (visual), sound (auditory), taste, smell (olfactory), touch, movement?
  • Crane is famous for his use of color: do you see the use of color in the story?
  • Does he use metaphors or similes? Where does he use them, and for what purpose? Does he use several metaphors or similes that refer to a single idea? If so, what is the effect on the story?
  • Does he use exaggeration (hyperbole) and understatement (litotes)?
  • Does he repeat words or phrases for effect?
  • Does he use symbols or symbolic objects to convey meaning? What are they? What do they mean?
  • Crane is noted for his use of irony.  Are there instances of irony in this story?
  • The most important thing is this: how do those devices contribute to Crane’s meaning?

Your textbook should have examples and definitions. Also, here is a page at George Landow’s well-respected Victorian Literature site; it lists major literary devices and defines them:

Animal References in Maggie
QUESTION: I’m researching Crane’s novel, “Maggie”.  I was wondering if there were any references I could use explaining the animal behavior in his book.   Jackie, pawsonme13@aol.com
Relationship of Potter and his wifeQUESTION: Hello there, I have to write about “Bride comes to Yellow Sky”. Can anybody help me with the question about the relationship of Potter to his wife?
Thanks.            Kerstin
You might want to start by looking at Crane’s description of her.

  • Our culture (and most stories) encourage us to think of brides as young and beautiful, like the princesses in fairy tales. Does Mrs. Potter fit this description?
  • If not, why not?
  • What does the description tell you about her past, her social class, and her expectations for the future?
  • Why might Mrs. Potter be a better choice for a wife on the frontier than the traditional kind of bride?
  • Since Jack Potter obviously chose to marry her, what does this tell you about his expectations for the marriage?
  • Is Scratchy responding to the bride herself or merely to the fact that Jack is now married?
Title for Red Badge of Courage
NAME: D. Caputo
Was there an original title to The Red Badge of Courage? Does anyone know what it was?
In his background reading for “The Red Badge of Courage,” Crane almost undoubtedly encountered some of the published personal narratives by Union veterans who had seen action in the ranks such as Wilbur F. Hinman’s Corporal Si Klegg and His “‘Pard'” (1887 or Warren Lee Goss’s popular “Recollections of a Private/A Story of the Army of the Potomac” (1890). These memoirs traced the development of a recruit into a veteran. Crane most likely set out to write such a narrative and first titled his manuscript “Private Fleming/His Various Battles.” Somewhere along the line his focus shifted from external to internal battles and the relationship of the individual to society and the cosmic processes as reflected in the mind of a single soldier. Consequently he changed his title to “The Red Badge of Courage/An Episode of the American Civil War.”Stanley Wertheim 5/7/02
Round and Flat Characters
NAME: lailaEMAILADDRESS: four20gurl247@aol.com

QUESTION: im doing a paper on the bride comes to yellow sky on character the two main characters of the story how do i define if they are round or falt and what examples do i use?? im really lost

Your teacher will be your best source of information on this.  Also, see the questions above for answers about this story.  Round characters, according to E. M. Forster, are dynamic; they are capable of surprising us in a convincing way.  Flat characters serve other functions but do not grow and change as round characters do.
Crane’s Philosophy of Life
NAME: Katrina QUESTION: What is Crane’s philosophy on life??
A good biography would tell you a lot about this question (see below).  You can also get a good sense of this by reading his works, perhaps especially his poems.  Here are some questions to ask yourself while reading:
1. Would you say that Crane has an optimistic outlook on human nature?
2. Does he think that man lives in harmony with nature and that nature protects man?
3. If you are reading his poems, where does he speak of God?  What does God say and do in those poems in which he appears?
4. Are events in Crane’s stories carefully planned so that the good people always triumph and the bad people are always punished, or is Crane’s perspective more complex than that?
5. Does Crane use irony? Where and for what purposes?
Report on Crane
EMAILADDRESS: Molasses_the_slow@yahoo.comI am doing a report on the Red Badge of Courage and I need some Info

1. How many works did Stephen Crane write in his life?

2. What was his most known or popular novel he wrote?

3. What was Henry’s last name?

4. What were some of the names of the places he went?(I have to create a map of Important places)

You can find the answers to all of these in the biographies of and books about Stephen Crane.  Here are some titles to help you get started:Stanley Wertheim and Paul Sorrentino, The Crane Log
Stanley Wertheim, The Stephen Crane Encyclopedia
Christopher Benfey, The Double Life of Stephen Crane
Linda Davis, Badge of Courage: The Life of Stephen Crane

P. S. The answers to numbers 2 and 3 are 2) Red Badge of Courage and 3) Fleming.

Color in The Red Badge of Courage
Jennifer, ShowBlazeGo@aol.comQUESTION: After reading the Red Badge of Courage for my Junior Literature class, I decided I wanted to write my term paper on the novel.  The topic I chose was the symbolism of the color red in the Red Badge of Courage, but I have yet to find any critical essays mentioning Crane’s use of color.  Can you help? Sources and websites would help, along with any advice.
Sunshine in The Red Badge of Courage
QUESTION: I’m writing a paper on the meaning of the use of sunshine in Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage”. I could really use some help on this subject.- Liz, crazyzil17@hotmail.com
QUESTION: I have to do a research paper on the psychological and social aspects of Crane and his short story “The Sergeant’s Private Madhouse.” Is there a site that can help me?
Contemporary works inspired by Stephen Crane
QUESTION: What sort of contemporary works were inspired by Stephen Crane?  I have tried, without avail, to locate a single site which states that Crane or any of his works were an inspiring factor in anything.  I would quite seriously appreciate any help or recommendations.  Thank you,Will Dobbins, billydobb@aol.com
“The Wayfarer”
What message is Stephen Crane attempting to portray in “The Wayfarer”? In what ways, if any, does this theme relate to his life?
  The theme of Crane’s “The wayfarer” is reflected in a later poem that was almost undoubtedly influenced by it, Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” The narrator in Frost’s poem comes to a crossroads where two roads diverge in a Dantean “yellow wood,” reflecting the ambivalences and ambiguities of life. The two roads are fair, but the narrator understands that he cannot travel both. He chooses “the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.” In contrast, Crane’s wayfarer perceives that “the pathway to truth” is a relatively untraveled road choked with weeds and briars and chooses a more comfortable path. Crane’s own early years were spent in a stable, conventional small-town environment but he chose to, live a hectic and often dangerous life as an investigative reporter and war correspondent. His career as a writer was devoted to the unrelenting pursuit of his vision of truth, regardless of consequences. As he wrote to a number of editors, “I understand that a man is born into the world with his own pair of eyes and he is not at all responsible for his quality of personal honesty. To keep close to my honesty is my supreme ambition.” In “The wayfarer” Crane satirizes people who choose the road more traveled by and lead comfortable lives, experiencing and risking little.Stanley Wertheim 8/20/02
Stephen Crane and Modern Literature 
QUESTION: How did the works of Stephen Crane affect modern english literature?? Please reply asap.Neil Hodges, hodgesn_02@hotmail.com
This question might be best answered by a look at a general essay or book on Crane, such as The Stephen Crane Encyclopedia, the entries on Crane in the Dictionary of Literary Biography series, or other such sources.
About replying ASAP:  The questions in this column are answered when volunteers undertake to send in replies, so there are never any guarantees about when a given question might be answered.
Bibliography on “The Blue Hotel”QUESTION: I’m doing a research paper on the Blue Hotel and I’m having trouble finding critisims on the Blue Hotel?

Kostas Tsilianos kostastsilianos@hotmail.com, 7/18/02

You can check the bibliographies on Crane for some ideas; also, there is an online bibliography available.
Stephen Crane, Slums of New York and Sojourn in England QUESTION: I’m searching for more detailed information about Stephen Crane’s works related to the slums of New York and information about his sojourn in England. Mara Gabrielli mara.gabrielli@libero.it
Crane, God, and DeismQUESTION: i’m writing a paper on deism and Crane’s work and life. I was looking for information supporting what religious beliefs Crane may have held. His work, especially his poetry, seemed to showed a deistic view of the world and God. Deism is the belief in God being responsible for the creation of the universe, but other than that he doesnt really do anything. Do you know of any information i could use for my paper or am i completely off the mark with this thesis?Abigail D. Gastaldi, wateverlolawntz@hotmail.com
Crane did not share the anthropomorphic, omnipotent conception of God held by his Methodist forbears, and some of his poems reflect the deistic conception that whatever force created the universe somehow lost or relinquished control of a creation that subsequently degenerated into purposelessness and chaos. This is reflected in the following poem from The Black Riders:
God fashioned the ship of the world carefully
With the infinite skill of an All-Master
Made He the hull and the sails,
Held He the rudder
Ready for adjustment.
Erect stood He, scanning His work proudly.
Then-at fateful time-a wrong called,
And God turned, heeding.
Lo, the ship, at this opportunity,
slipped slyly,
Making cunning noiseless travel down the ways.
So that, forever rudderless, it went upon the seas
Going ridiculous voyages,
Making quaint progress,
Turning as with serious purpose
Before stupid winds.
And there were many in the sky
Who laughed at this thing.

–Stanley Wertheim


Controlling Metaphor in “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”
QUESTION: I’m doing an assignment on “The bride comes to yellow sky”, but i can’t seem to find the controlling metaphor… please help! Susan
Some of the questions and answers on this page may help you to find the answer to this question.
Symbolism in The Red Badge of CourageI am writing a term paper for my Honors English class of the symbolism in “The Red Badge of Courage.” I’ve been having a hard time finding critical essays and/or articles about this topic. Can you help? Sites would be great. Thanks! newyorker13_@hotmail.com

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