Murder From Two Aspects Essay

1107 words - 4 pages

As Eudora Welty summarizes in her essay, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" by Stephen Crane tells a story of situation whereas Katherine Mansfield's "Miss Brill" tells the story of a lady whose self-esteem is hurt by the remark she overhears. Even though Crane's story encompasses more events than Mansfield's story does, the reader sees how "Miss Brill" with its much simpler narrative can be more revealing about its theme and the change in its protagonist than "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky."
Crane's story is based on the confrontation between the town's marshal of Yellow Sky and one of the most troublesome criminals of the town. Scratchy Willis, one of the old gang's members, is drunk and ready to attack any randomly chosen figure in the town. By describing people's apprehension, Crane helps the reader understand what a troublemaker Willis is. Finally, Willis decides to go and kill Jack Potter, the marshal of Yellow Sky. As Jack Potter, still anxious to see the first impression people have of his wife, goes briskly home, he sees Scratchy Willis pointing his gun towards him. It is almost all over, the reader and Jack himself think. A requiem for Jack Potter starts playing in the reader's mind before Willis actually gets to learn that the lady next to Jack is his wife and they were about to get to home. Surprising both Jack Potter and the reader, Scratchy Willis puts his gun into its holster and goes away.
Now, the end of the story, quiet similar to that of "A Rose for Emily," makes the reader surprise. Willis has always been a troublemaker. Or has he not? Crane gives a hint about it where the bartender remarks, "When he's sober he's all right "“ kind of simple "“ would not hurt a fly "“ nicest fellow in town." He sees the man who once shot him in the leg and decides not to take revenge upon learning that his enemy is going home with his wife whom he married very recently. What is it that makes even such a grim guy mercy his enemy at a time where he can satisfy his most vicious feelings? All we know is that he just realizes that he is dealing with a different situation and goes away. No more than that is revealed by the author.

        Miss Brill's experience of self-realization is different from that of Scratchy Willis'. There is no tension building up in her story. It is another Sunday afternoon she will enjoy going to Jardines Publiques , perching on her "special seat", watching people. More important than all of these, it is another Sunday afternoon she will experience the joy of being part of life. Just as she thinks how brilliant and fascinating everything around her is, a young couple shows up and tears down all her elation. The girl thinks that Miss Brill in her fur looks like fried whiting, and the boy remarks, "Why doesn't she keep her silly old mug at home?" The boy's question (Why does she come here at all- who wants her?) shakes Miss Brill off her previous emotions. She comes to realize that all of her feelings about her...

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