Jack Potter

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In “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky,” Stephen Crane uses humor to illustrate the East coming to the old West. Crane uses three characters throughout this parody to demonstrate the change approaching the West. Jack Potter is the main character, and Crane uses his marriage to the unnamed bride to illustrate civilization coming to the old West. Potter’s character changes throughout the story, and Crane discusses how the protagonist in this story becomes a new man when he gets married. Beginning with the travel from the East to the West, Potter’s surroundings change, as well as himself.Stephen Crane introduces Jack Potter, a simple newlywed man, on the luxurious train. Crane uses irony on the train ride because Yellow Sky is a very different atmosphere than the upper-class Pullman. Potter is with his bride, and the newlywed couple is completely out of their element. Jack Potter is wearing his new black clothes, and his wife is wearing blue cashmere with velvet and puffy sleeves. Crane uses theses new items to symbolize Potter becoming a new man. Potter demonstrates his insecurities and nervousness towards his new bride and upper class surroundings. He finds a topic for conversation that he is quite familiar with; his insecurities become hidden. “Later, he explained to her about the trains…” (2), as he tells her of his knowledge, his confidence becomes more obvious; “He had the pride of an owner” (2). With the couple being of lower-class parties, the fellow passengers look at them with disgust and snobbish attitudes. The negro porter specifically bullies the couple disguisedly, as he knows their uneasiness to their unfamiliar surroundings. “On other occasions he bullied them with skill in ways that did not make it exactly plain to them that they were being bullied” (2); the porter is aware of the Potters feeling out of place in this unfamiliar setting, and he feels superior in this situation, as he takes advantage of it. Stephen Cranes gives readers a hint of the humor in the story after explaining how the porter bullies the couple; “Historically there was supposed to be something infinitely humorous in their situation” (2). At last, the time for the Potters to enjoy their high-class meal arrives, and they receive quite different treatment than before. “The pair fell to the lot of a waiter who happened to feel pleasure in steering them through their meal” (2); unlike their previous experience with the porter, the waiter is also aware of their unfamiliar ride but approaches them with different intentions.

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