Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Although Jack believes that he is guilty of a crime and has been a traitor to the community, he takes himself, as do many Crane protagonists, much too seriously. His perceptions of himself and his situation are not shared by the other characters or by Crane’s readers. The saloon conversation indicates that Jack is useful in containing Scratchy, but it does not reflect Jack’s “centrality” in the community. (In fact, Jack’s decision to marry must have followed his subconscious awareness that it was “safe” to marry.)

The gap between perception and reality is apparent on the train: “To the minds of the pair, their surroundings reflected the glory of their marriage.” The passengers and the black porter are not impressed, however, for they see the bride’s “under-class countenance,” her “shy and clumsy coquetry,” and the groom’s self-consciousness and lack of sophistication. To Jack, his house is his “citadel” and his marriage is his new “estate.” The mock-heroic style is epitomized in the bride’s reaction to the meeting with Scratchy: “She was a slave to hideous rites, gazing at the apparitional snake.” Crane elevates the meeting of Jack and his bride with Scratchy to myth: The “apparitional snake,” the satanic force that introduces evil into the new Edenic estate, is the drunken Scratchy Wilson; Jack and his bride are the innocent Adam and Eve; the “rite” is the fall from grace. Surely, nothing could be...

(The entire section is 429 words.)

The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The “bride” of Crane’s title plays a rather minor role in this story, in which her arrival in the jerkwater town of Yellow Sky is treated in a decidedly ironic manner. An extraordinarily plain woman from San Antonio, she has recently married the town’s sheriff, Potter, a man as ignorant of Pullman car etiquette as he is of the marital state and, more especially, of how Yellow Sky, which has pretensions to Eastern respectability, will respond to the fact of his marriage, about which the townspeople have not been forewarned.

Crane compounds the general ignorance and its attendant uncertainty in the next two of the story’s four parts, in which he introduces a drummer (traveling salesman) from the East, who knows nothing of the wild West, and Scratchy Wilson, the drunken desperado who is in fact an old man dressed as a kid dressed as an outlaw. The actual confrontation between Wilson, hurling challenges at Potter’s empty house, and Potter, slinking along the streets, hoping no one will see him and his bride, is funnier still.

The sheriff does indeed vanquish the desperado, not with his sixgun but with his bride. Wilson, no longer having Potter to play with anymore, shuffles off into the distance of history and obscurity. Potter, however, is vanquished too, by Crane’s deadly irony and by his own delusions about his bride, whom he mistakenly associates with the ersatz grandeur of his one Pullman-car experience.

Because it...

(The entire section is 405 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In this lively western yarn told in a third person, limited omniscient-observer style, and enhanced by certain autobiographical hints, Crane...

(The entire section is 1558 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Stephen Crane's short story "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" has for many years continued to appeal to the imaginations of literary critics...

(The entire section is 485 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Stephen Crane's story of the Texas frontier town's marshal, Jack Potter, who goes to San Antonio to meet and marry a girl of questionable...

(The entire section is 5350 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Because "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" appears so intensely personal, for all the reasons given or suggested above, it is difficult to cite...

(The entire section is 127 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Out of the five other important Western tales in the Crane canon with which "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" may be grouped—"Five White...

(The entire section is 479 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The 1952 movie "Face to Face," directed by John Brahm, and with Bretaigne Windust, James Mason, Michael Pate, Robert Preston, and Marjorie...

(The entire section is 73 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Benfey, Christopher E. G. The Double Life of Stephen Crane. New York: Knopf, 1992.

Berryman, John. Stephen Crane: A Critical Biography. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2001.

Cady, Edwin H. Stephen Crane. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1980.

Davis, Linda H. Badge of Courage: The Life of Stephen Crane. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Gullason, Thomas A., ed. Stephen Crane’s Literary Family: A Garland of Writings. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2002.

Hayes, Kevin J. Stephen Crane. Tavistock,...

(The entire section is 161 words.)