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Stephen Crane is considered to be among the earliest writers whose work was entirely based on the motif of realism. He also is accredited with pioneering of contemporary American literal motif of naturalism. His literal works are perceived to focus on psychological intricacies of both fear and courage in the course of war. It is noted that most of his literal works are influenced by literal realism works written by William Dean Howell. The fact that he took to master the art of presenting literal works in an environment keen on observation and individual involvements made it clear that he was far the most American writer who achieved far-reaching success in terms of narrative brilliance as well as perfected imminence. Therefore, the research paper tries to examine major contributions made by Stephen Crane’s literal works in catapulting modern American motifs of realism and naturalism.

Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, to a Methodist father and his mother, devoted socialists, concerned herself with writing and publishing of religious articles. He was the youngest in a family of fourteen siblings. Crane’s two brothers were journalists and so his writings were entirely influenced and propelled by the family as a whole. It is further noted that he initiated his higher education in 1888 at both Hudson River Institute and later, Claverack College where he was exclusively renowned for his baseball and football capabilities as compared to classroom abilities and prowess (Folsom 37).

The story” The Little Regiment” was established   in the course of civil war and the choice of the title by the author(Crane) was considered to be well thought. It had many implications to those who fought the war and was also established for the purpose of posterity to generations which never got to see the war itself. The story refers to friends and relatives as “units” thus depicting close ties attributed to certain societies as a whole. Use of diction in naming characters portrays a crucial aspect in developing the story as each and every name bears significant meaning. For instance, there were such names as Kalamozoo Light Guard and Sumter Light Guard who volunteered to fight the war hence formed the regiments altogether. In due course, the regiments were filled with pride as units took to distinguish themselves separately from others in terms of service to the war. Such units as “Fox 300 Fighting Regiments” were filled with intense pride so that conflicts and misunderstanding befall the “units” as the hierarchical groupings had soldiers arranged in manner that exposed their respective triumphs and failures. It is also believed that Americans joined together in separate interracial units fought the civil war as a whole. Therefore, it means that the basis for forming the units into interracial groupings depicted the form of discrimination accredited to certain groups of service men as they were considered to be an insignificant unit altogether. The discrimination based on ranks and service in the battalions are used by Crane to depict moments of segregation practiced by the society to minority groups altogether.

At   Claverack College, Crane underwent intense military training whose experience and involvement aided him in writing one of his most renowned masterpieces: “The Red Badge of Courage”. In 1900, Crane’s health worsened and thus died of tuberculosis which was triggered by his disregard for health wise well-being. Most of his renowned literal works include “The Open Boat and other Tales of Adventure”, “The Little Regiment” as well as “The Monster” (Folsom 39).

In “The Monster”, Crane tells a story of Henry Johnson living in the imaginary town Whilom Ville, New York. Further description into the town reveals Crane’s childhood hometown of Port Jervis. The story unfolds through the antagonist, Henry Johnson, a black coachman whose facial appearance is pitilessly distorted by massive fire that he encountered while in the course of rescuing his employer’s (Dr. Trescott) son, from their house, which was profusely burning.  The courage to rescue Dr. Trescott’s son is rewarded when Dr.Trescott agrees and promises to care of Henry’s upkeep. However, the villagers, from whillomville, distort this promise as they embark on terming him a monster and thus scared of him altogether.  The story unfolds as different people, including the rescued son and other visitors, playing and discriminating against him altogether. Crane manages to depict the cruelty outlaid by society to heroes and thus compares Henry’s life impeachments to that of Jesus Christ. This is a course of realism that Crane developed and established and upon which current American literatures are based (Mcmurray 51). It is also evidently clear to indicate that the use of Henry as the antagonists was to showcase the stereotyping that is associated with black as a color and as a race. In most stories black people are perceived as slaves and often are oppressed by their masters. As a black coachman, Henry endures all the oppression and discrimination that comes with it. He is considered to be a subject of oppression in the indifferent society. Therefore, color black in this story bears a symbolic meaning which contributes significantly to both plot and theme.

In “The Open Boat”, Crane uses his past experience, as a correspondent, to portray the enigma they encountered while distributing Cuban revolutionaries. It is a short fiction story that depicts the challenges encountered by four men on a voyage who experienced the violent and destructive capability of the sea. Crane uses the stylistic device: imagery to depict occurrences of both beauty and terror as emanated from natural forces which, in turn, portray possessed hope as depicted by survivors in respect to the unfriendly sea.  The story also showcases the persistent struggle as depicted by humanity against nature’s hostility. It depicts human behavioral activities under hostile environment which, in most times, lead to the evolution of man in respect to the isolation to a sense of compassion that possesses paramount appreciation for societal values and norms altogether.

Crane uses the boat to represent forms of barriers human beings encounter in their pursuit for fair life. The boat is also used to represent a form of escape to the desired life of happiness and short of troubles. The hostility of the sea is used to represent the challenges experienced by humanity in their respective journey of self-perception and knowledge. Billy, the main antagonist in the story, dies in the end, which in itself, is a representation of the powerful prowess of nature despite the strength and importance of man in the society (Dooley 14-22).

Criticizers of literature have over time illustrated Crane’s masterpieces with integrity they deserve so that motifs attributed to naturalism, realism, persistent struggles against the hostile nature, mortality of human beings in respect to sufferings as well as brawl to survive in  harsh  societies are considered to be his strong viewpoints. His regard for mortality of men is considered to be the reason for his neglect to seek health services thus leading to his death. Extensive research analysis depicts his works to be perpetuated by the different senses of humanity especially that individual’s life is mostly determined by the reaction emanated from one’s society.

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