Stephen Crane uses symbolism in his story “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky ” to represent the westward expansion or eastern encroachment into small town Texas. As the newlywed town marshal of Yellow Sky, Jack Potter, and his wife travel westward on the Pullman train it is described as...
Stephen Crane uses symbolism in his story “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” to represent the westward expansion or eastern encroachment into small town Texas. As the newlywed town marshal of Yellow Sky, Jack Potter, and his wife travel westward on the Pullman train it is described as if the “plains of Texas were pouring eastward.” The couple married in San Antonio and were heading west back to his little town where he knew his marriage would change the town’s dynamics. Therefore, the train is a symbol of bringing the more refined culture of the east to western Texas.
As the couple is traveling, there is trouble in the saloon back in Yellow Sky. One of the locals, Scratchy Wilson, has taken it upon himself to over imbibe and is on a shooting rampage in the town. In the saloon, there is a salesman from the east who is quite shocked by the ongoings. The men of the town take the shooting rampage in stride while the salesman does not know what to make of it. Again, symbolism points to how the eastern influence and lack of understanding of the western ways, is evident. The salesman is symbolic of someone who does not know the ways of the “wild” west, and how the small towns will change as the eastern influence becomes more apparent.
The bride herself is a symbol for the change that the town of Yellow Sky is about to experience. When Scratchy goes out to Jack Potter’s house, he is met by the newlyweds sneaking quietly back into town. When he sees the bride, he loses his urge to fight and shuffles away. The bride symbolizes a new civilized way of life does not include such things as drunken gun fights.
"Well, I ‘low it’s off, Jack," said Wilson. He was looking at the ground. "Married!" He was not a student of chivalry; it was merely that in the presence of this foreign condition he was a simple child of the earlier plains. He picked up his starboard revolver, and placing both weapons in their holsters, he went away. His feet made funnel-shaped tracks in the heavy sand.