The Conflict Between Love And Duty In

The Bride Comes To Yellow Sky Essay, Research Paper

The conflict between love and duty in The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky

In this essay I will discuss the conflict between love and duty in Stephan Crane s The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky . In the story there is a constant reflection by the town s marshal, Jack Potter on his recent marriage and his duties and responsibilities to his town. Potter, recently married now has to split his responsibilities to the town with that of his newly wed wife. The marshal s role in the affairs of the town has been affected and changed by his marriage. The marshal is only beginning to realize the effect his arrival in town with his wife will have on the town.

Jack Potter, the town marshal, had left Yellow Sky to marry his bride in secret. He, the town marshal of Yellow Sky, a man known, liked, and feared in his corner, a prominent person, had gone to San Antonio to meet a girl he believed he loved, and there, after the usual prayers, had actually induced her to marry him, without consulting Yellow Sky for any part of the transaction. He was now bringing his bride before an innocent and unsuspecting community. (219)

Potter was concerned with what importance his marriage was to the town. He knew full well that his marriage was an important thing to his town. It could only be exceeded by the burning of the new hotel. His friends could not forgive him. Frequently he had reflected on the advisability of telling them by telegraph, but a new cowardice had been upon him. (220)

His wife tried to get him to tell her what was wrong with him. He obviously seemed a little distressed to her. The bride looked anxiously at him. “What’s worrying you, Jack?” He laughed again. “I’m not worrying, girl. I’m only thinking of Yellow Sky. ” She flushed in comprehension. A sense of mutual guilt invaded their minds and developed a finer tenderness. They looked at each other with eyes softly aglow. But Potter often laughed the same nervous laugh. The flush upon the bride’s face seemed quite permanent. A sense of mutual guilt invaded their minds and developed a finer tenderness. They looked at each other with eyes softly aglow. But Potter often laughed the same nervous laugh. The flush upon the bride’s face seemed quite permanent. (220)

He felt that he had disappointed the town by bringing on a bride. He felt as if he betrayed the town. The traitor to the feelings of Yellow Sky narrowly watched the speeding landscape. (220)

Potter was very conscious of the first effect his new bride had on the town. As they slunk rapidly away, his hang-dog glance perceived that they were unloading the two trunks, and also that the station-agent far ahead near the baggage-car had turned and was running toward him, making gestures. He laughed, and groaned as he laughed, when he noted the first effect of his marital bliss upon Yellow Sky. He gripped his wife’s arm firmly to his side, and they fled. Behind them the porter stood chuckling fatuously. (220)

As far as some of the effects of being married, Scratchy Wilson was somewhat in disbelief during their confrontation when the marshal said he did not have a pistol. I m sure in his unmarried life, Potter always had a weapon. Potter looked at his enemy. “I ain’t got a gun on me, Scratchy,” he said. “Honest, I ain’t.” He was stiffening and steadying, but yet somewhere

at the back of his mind a vision of the Pullman floated, the sea-green figured velvet, the shining brass, silver, and glass, the wood that gleamed as darkly brilliant as the surface of a pool of oil — all the glory of the marriage, the environment of the new estate. “You know I fight when it comes to fighting, Scratchy Wilson, but I ain’t got a gun on me. You’ll have to do all the shootin’ yourself. ” His enemy’s face went livid. He stepped forward and lashed his weapon to and fro before Potter’s chest. “Don’t you tell me you ain’t got no gun on you, you whelp. Don’t tell me no lie like that. There ain’t a man in Texas ever seen you without no gun. Don’t take me for no kid.” His eyes blazed with light, and his throat worked like a pump. “I ain’t takin’ you for no kid,” answered Potter. His heels had not moved an inch backward. “I’m takin’ you for a — – — fool. I tell you I ain’t got a gun, and I ain’t. If you’re goin’ to shoot me up, you better begin now. You’ll never get a chance like this again. ” (224-225)

Marshal Potter definitely was working out his feelings of duty to the town people and his responsibilities to his wife. He was torn between the conflicts. I suspect that it will take him a while to sort them out.

Stephan Crane The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s 2000. 218-225


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