In "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky," how does Stephen Crane both utilize and satirize the traits of the Western story?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Crane's story includes several of the literary conventions and stereotypes of the traditional Western tale. There is a small Western town, the town's sheriff, the sheriff's new bride, and the gunslinger. In his story, however, Crane takes liberties with all of these.

Yellow Sky is not inhabited by tough frontier types, but is instead peopled by a fairly social group of folks who pay a lot of attention to the sheriff's personal life. The sheriff, Jack Potter, is not the strong, silent type. He is instead a sheepish groom who fears what the townspeople will say when he comes home a married man. Potter's new bride is not the stereotypical love interest. She is older than her husband, plain and unattractive. Finally, the gunslinger of Yellow Sky bears the unlikely name of Scratchy Wilson. When Scratchy challenges Jack, there is no climactic shoot out. Instead, Scratchy simply slinks away when he learns Potter is unarmed and also has gotten himself married. Speechless and completely astounded, Scratchy just does not know what to do with that information.