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Stephen Crane- "An Episode of War"

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Clarissa Tusa

on 11 February 2014

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Transcript of Stephen Crane- "An Episode of War"

Stephen Crane- "An Episode of War"
More Personal Information
Stephen was an American author. He wrote many stories about the war because he was fascinated with it.
He lived among the poor so he could receive research about his book Maggie. Maggie is the first novel he has ever written.
Stephens first American modern war novel was The Red Badge of Courage.
Most of Stephen Cranes works are very similar to Emily Dickinson. Stephen’s fame brought him more experiences to write about.
He wrote all his works in realist tradition as well as American naturalism and impressionism.
His works had to do with ideal vs. realities and spiritual crisis vs. fear. His three main characters would always have their dream come true yet suffer from the crisis of identity. He included isolation from society and community in his work.
He really enjoyed writing to let out the way he felt about life.
Plot Summary
Theme of "An Episode of War"
Cranes works had a strong sense of human kind and nature. His short stories always had to deal with different periods of his life.
He suffered from tuberculosis. Stephen Crane eventually passed away June 5, 1900.
Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey on November 1, 1871.
His full name is Stephen Townley Crane. Stephen Crane taught himself how to read and write. Stephen started writing at about age 8 and wrote articles for the New York Tribune at the age of 16.
Both of his parents were writers. His parents were both very religious. Stephen went to Claverack College. He started at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and then at Syracuse University.
He married a woman named Cora. Stephen was the fourteenth child of the family.
Personal Life of Stephen Crane
“An Episode of war,” by Stephen Crane describes a common occurrence when dealing with soldiers during the American Civil War. During the story a young lieutenant is dividing the morning’s rations of coffee for the men when he hears the familiar sound of gunshots, during the firing of the guns the young lieutenant was struck in the arm. When the officer looked down and saw his bloody sleeve he began to feel pain and wince in disbelief. The troops try to assist him but he realizes quickly that it’s helpless without medical attention so he sets off to find some. The young lieutenant made his way to some medical assistance and as he is making his way there he sees himself in a whole new light. Along the way another officer stops to redress the gunshot wound. When the lieutenant finally reaches medical help he runs up to the doctor calming that he needs help and that he is dying. The young lieutenant does not want his arm amputated so the doctor states that amputation will not be necessary which was really only to calm the man down. When the lieutenant arrives home to recover from his wound his family is saddened by the fact that he doesn’t have an arm. The lieutenant tells his family that it doesn’t matter and “it’s only a minor matter in the overall horror that is war.”

In this short story a war lieutenant is caught off guard in the start of a battle. Shot in the arm, he goes to see the field doctor and has to have his arm amputated. With an anti-war theme Crane has it set in the civil war era and uses it to portray the tragedies of war. Crane uses not only the theme of “An Episode of War” as an example of realism- literary period from 1865 to 1915 which sought to accurately portray real life, but many other ways in this short story.
Including the theme another example in which he portrays as realist literature is the name of the lieutenant. Even though the lieutenant is the protagonist of the short story he still has no name. This was a common practice amongst Realist writers in a sense that they didn’t want the story just connecting to one individual’s life. They wanted it to be able to make something that could connect to everyone. Realist writers also left the main character without a name because the reader was not suppose to get attached to the reader but see what it was truly about. Realism is shown by Crane with the minor details he puts in his short story. For an example sense the story took place in the civil war he gave the lieutenant a sword. When shot the lieutenant tries to re-sheath his sword but has difficulty doing so. This minor fact in the story matches with actual facts for the civil war time period, sense during that time swords were still used regularly in war, giving it a realistic feel and making it believable. When the lieutenant was shot at first he was shocked and staggered, but as the lieutenant realizes he was shot lets it take a toll on his physical being. In a way changing how he physically operates which is consistent to Realism. After he has been shot and slowly makes his way through the battlefield, witnessing all the terrible horrors of war, he finds the field doctor. The doctor notices the lieutenant’s wound and suggest he follows him so he can fix it. Hesitant and scared the lieutenant makes it clear he does not want his arm being amputated; only to be responded to the doctor by an insult and reassurance he will not lose his arm. At the end the lieutenant is home now with his family but not all is well. They mourn for him and his loss as he returned with one less arm then when he first went to war; giving realist literature qualities to Crane’s short story.Stephen Crane’s anti-war story “An Episode of War” portrayed a realist story of a lieutenant who was shot and what was to become of him. With a very strong theme against warfare, Crane shows how brutal it was then.
Stephen Crane
By: Clarissa Tusa, Natalie Rudd, Rachel Savino, and Francesco Gangemi
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