"The great Pullman was whirling onward with such dignity of motion that a glance from the window seemed simply to prove that the plains of Texas were pouring eastward" (91). Boom! We're on a train witnessing the liquid landscape of Texas. This fact is all Stephen Crane chooses to tell us. In fact, he doesn't even use the word "train" until the ninth paragraph when he is writing dialogue for the man who is the betrothed to the woman implied in the title of the piece, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky." We learn in the second paragraph that the couple is on a coach from San Antonio and that "the man's face was reddened from many days in the wind and the sun" (91). We also learn that the "bride was not pretty, nor was she young" and it would seem that this couple are rather out of place on this coach speeding away from San Antonio (91). Crane is up to something. Don't think he's going to leave them on this train. No, I am here to inform you that he has a nasty little trick up his sleeve and his goal is to "deceive to delight"; he is going to try a fast bait and switch, dangling the barbed hook before your startled imagination, and then, when you least expect it, he plans to go for the kill, jerking the carpet out from beneath your very feet.
The couple "were evidently very happy" (91). The "man's face in particular beamed with an elation that made him appear ridiculous to the negro porter" (92). It would seem that this handyman "bullied" them in ways to which they seemingly naïve. In fact, everything about this couple seems naïve, simple, unsophisticated. She tells him the time "with a shy and clumsy coquetry" which causes a passerby to grow "excessively sardonic" and...
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... of Yellow Sky to learn of Potter's new marriage. Upon bearing witness to this fact, a befuddles Scratchy replies "Well, I s'pose it's all off now," and, "placing both weapons in their holsters," his feet make "funnel-shaped tracks in the sand" as they carry him out of the story, the covers of the book folding shut on this scene (99). And this, I suppose, explains that nasty little trick Cain had up his sleeve, his goal of "deceiving to delight" accomplished with whatever degree of success the reader is willing to grant him, his fast bait and switch ploy holding up an "innocent and unsuspecting" simpleton only to, with deft slight of pen, transform him into a hero before our unsuspecting eyes.
Crane, Stephen. "Bride Comes to Yellow Sky." Literature: The Human Experience. 8th ed. Ed. Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz. Boston: Bedford, 2002. 91-99.
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