Wrapping My Mind Around Stephen Crane’s Mind

1560 words - 6 pages

Most authors, regardless of capability, tend to have certain themes appear throughout their different pieces of writing. An author remains the same person after each book, and that person likely feels the same way about many things, so there is certainly a chance to see themes pop up multiple times throughout the works that they have written. For example, Stephen Crane had many recurring themes within his writing. He was always focused on certain themes because his writing style revolved around these themes. The topic of the story seems to be irrelevant, because the same themes continue to appear throughout his works. Stephen Crane’s works of literature are heavily focused on death, survival and suffering.
In the first place, Stephen Crane focuses on death in many of his pieces. Death is a very powerful topic, demanding emotion from most readers, making death the tool that Crane was looking for to evoke the emotions he wished to see. An example of death found in the work “The Open Boat.” The four men in the story are stranded on a boat, and they work together to try to return to land. Everyone makes a safe return to land excluding Billie the Oiler, who dies (Dooley 1). His efforts for living another day were greeted by death. The survivors were left with a feeling of consternation and confusion, unable to be happy because they lose one of their own. Other excellent examples of the recurrence of death in Crane’s writing can be found in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Maggie is a simple girl with a very difficult life. She only lives with her mother and her brother. Her father and other brother have died, another example of the use of death in Crane’s writing. Maggie is unable to cope with the struggle of live, so she ends her life by “jumping into the East River” (Wolford 1). Although Maggie attempts to make do with her environment and resources, “she is inexorably driven to make choices that lead her to ruin and death” (Wolford 1). Crane relies on death to call out a mixture of emotions in his reader, which he uses commonly and effectively, but he also uses other tools to manipulate the reader’s emotion.
Just the same way, Crane constantly has the characters in his pieces of literature suffer due to all sorts of opposing forces. Another look at Maggie: A Girl of the Streets will reveal another theme: suffering. Maggie grows up with her father and brother taken from her by the hand of death, and she is abandoned with her abusive mother, and belligerent aggressive brother. She is beaten and neglected by her own family, and suffering from the pain and hatred that her environment is buffeting her with. She is then driven out of her home, forced to suffer in a sweat shop and as a prostitute. She then becomes seduced by Pete, the local bar tender, only to be abandoned by Pete so he can “chase another woman” (Wolford 1). Now she is suffering from a broken heart, a broken body, and a broken will, suffering in every way imaginable. No matter how...

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