Eight short stories by Stephen Crane, published in 1898, mainly “after the Fact” of his own experiences as a reporter and war correspondent.
“The Open Boat” is a realistic account of the thoughts and emotions of four men who escape in a small dinghy from the wrecked steamer Commodore off the Florida coast. The captain, the cook, an oiler, and a newspaper correspondent, unable to land because of the dangerous surf, see the beach tantalizingly near, but are forced to spend the night on the sea. Next morning they employ their last strength to swim ashore, and all but the oiler survive. “Death and the Child,” reminiscent of The Red Badge of Courage, has for its scene a battle of the Greco-Turkish War and is concerned with the psychological reactions of a Greek newspaperman in his first experience of warfare. At first he desires to fight with his countrymen, but as he views the battle more intimately he is overcome by fear and panic, and flees to a nearby mountain, where his self-centered emotion is contrasted with the indifference of an abandoned peasant child. “Flanagan, and His Short Filibustering Adventure” narrates a melodramatic incident of arms smuggling in Cuba before the Spanish-American War. The remaining stories are sardonically realistic adventure tales in Mexico and the Far West. Of these one is “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky,” about a newly married couple, the marshal of Yellow Sky, Tex., and his bride from San Antonio, who arrive on the train in his town at the moment that the local bad man goes on a drunken shooting spree. After a tense meeting, the marshal is spared, not because the bad man was a “student of chivalry; it was merely that in the presence of this foreign condition he was a simple child of the earlier plains.”.
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Stephen Crane (1871—1900) writer