What is the description, action, and dialouge in "The Upturned Face"?  

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Almost the entire text of "The Upturned Face" consists of either descriptive action and dialogue

The author, Steven Crane, spends a lot of time on descriptive action; that is,  he describes very clearly, in great detail, what the characters are doing.  He describes exactly how the men dug the grave, how they searched the dead body for valuables, how the bullets were flying about them, how they lifted the body to drop it into the grave, how they flung dirt into the grave, etc., etc., etc.

There is also quite a bit of dialogue; that is, the characters' exact spoken words are recorded, with quotation marks to identify them. 

What we do not find much of in this story is direct comment by the author.  Occasionally, Crane offers us an adjective or two to describe a character's mental state: troubled, excited, frightened, dubious are some examples.  Crane never offers us any lengthy comments about what his characters are feeling.  (For contrast, read a chapter or two of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, in which the author spends pages telling us about his characters' psychological states.) 

Also, Crane does not directly comment on the theme of his story.  Crane describes the action and records the dialogue, but he leaves it entirely up to the reader to derive some lesson or insight from the story.

 

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