Figurative Language In Stephen Crane's A Mystery Of Heroism

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Stephen Crane and Figurative Language Stephen Crane’s “A Mystery of Heroism” is a short story of a soldier Fred Collins and his seemingly ignorant decision to get water from a well in the middle of a battlefield. Crane uses figurative language to depict the brutality of war and how foolish Fred Collins’ decision to act brave was. This story uses symbolism, imagery, and personification to help the readers understand why Collins’ act was so imprudent yet ended up being heroic. Crane’s story suggests that turning your back on war to serve yourself can be a form of bravery, however, doing it to serve others, i.e. getting a trapped officer water is heroic. Throughout “A Mystery of Heroism”, Crane uses water to symbolize Fred Collins’ act of heroism. Collins risks his life to cross a battlefield in search of water even though none of his comrades were dying of thirst. Crane writes, ‘“I can’t,” he screamed, and in this reply was a full description of his quaking apprehension…But Collins turned. He came dashing back” (Crane 7). This shows us that Collins was originally brave by going to search for the water,…show more content…
Author Stephen Crane uses symbolism, imagery, and personification to depict the brutality of the war and how foolish Collins’ decision was. The water Collins retrieves is symbolic of his act of heroism and how he turned his back on the war to help a dying comrade. Imagery is used to illustrate how terrible the war was. This makes Collins decision seem even more ludacris to the readers. Finally, personification is used to show how the soldiers hid the horrors of the war and turned them into a more familiar sound like arguing. Through figurative language, the readers are clued into Collins’ insane choice and receive a clear image of how nihilistic the war raging around Collins was. “A Mystery of Heroism” is a short story that mocks heroism and what we define as a
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