English II Honors, Period 7
21 December 2010
What is Stephen Crane’s view on Religion and how does he exhibit this in The Red Badge of Courage? Religion is a large component of the lives of millions of people across the globe. People utilize religion as a template on how to lead their lives. Though, there are many people that choose to dispose of religion from their lives due to past experiences that altered their views of the traditions that have been installed into them by those around them. One person that exemplifies such behavior is the great American author, Stephen Crane, through his writing. He wrote numerous classic works, one of the most famous being the Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage. Stephen Crane incorporates religion to exemplify his experiences and views of religion, also known as Naturalism. Furthermore, Crane utilizes his childhood perception of religion, his adulthood view of religion, naturalistic ideas, imagery, and characters as religious figures to support his views of religion in The Red Badge of Courage. Stephen Crane’s first taste of religion was initially predisposed by his mother, Helen Crane. Mrs. Crane was a profoundly pious woman. She grew up in a devout home since her father was a clergyman (Davis, 4). Crane’s mother attempted to give crane and
his siblings a similar education and childhood to the one that she had, she endeavored to drill a religious way of life into their mindsets. Furthermore, Mrs. Crane’s whole entire maternal side was filled with ministers and one bishop that deeply influenced how she was raised (Davis, 5). Also, her family was filled with religious writes that influenced what she read and what she wrote (Davis, 5). All of this influence as a young chilled compelled Mrs. Crane to become a journalist for religious journals and newspapers during her parenting years (Bloom, 11). Also, during her years as a mother of fourteen children, Mrs. Crane was the head of many church activities, thus encouraging her children to participate in the many activities in their parish community (Sorrento, 1). Helen Crane did all that she could to try and impose as many religious ideas into her children, just as her parents did for her when she was a child. This ultimately influenced her fourteenth child and youngest son, Stephen Crane to reject her Christian ideas in favor for his naturalistic beliefs. In addition to Crane’s mother influencing his religious beliefs, Crane’s father, Minister John Crane, furthered the religious impact on the young Crane. John Crane, much like his son Stephen would become, was an orphan at a young age, loosing both his parents by the age of thirteen (Davis, 6). This lack of authority over him gave Mr. Crane the freedom to do as he pleased and the ability to revolt against his parents’ teachings. And so, he was compelled to leave his Presbyterian church for the Methodist Church due to his belief that Calvinistic ideals were repulsive (Davis, 6). After switching churches,
Mr. Crane worked his way up in the church community, gaining distinction and gaining the title of Minister (Davis, 6). He became a local celebrity due to his high position in the church (Sorrento, 1). This power compelled him to make sure that his children were implicated in the church community, sharing an idea with his wife. He surrounded the young Crane with religion at home and crane took it in since his father was a large influence on his personality. But then Crane’s father died when he was nine years old in 1880, leaving the young Crane devastated and tougher than before after seeing death at a young age (Sorrento, 2-3). Overall, Crane’s father was a huge influence on Crane’s view of religion as a young child. In addition to his parents’ views on religion, Crane developed his own views as a child from the numerous misfortunate events that occurred to him. For instance,...
Cited: Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage. New York: Dover, 1990. Print.
Davis, Lisa H. Badge of Courage: The Life of Stephen Crane. New York, NY: Houghton
Ed. Harold Bloom. Broomall: Chelsea, 1996. 52-57. Print.
Sorrento, Paul M. “The Life of Stephen Crane” Student Companion to Stephen Crane.
London: Greenwood, 2006
Wolford, Chester. “Fiction and the Epic Tradition: The Anger of Stephen Crane. (1983)
Ed. Harold Bloom. Broomall: Chelsea, 1996. 54-57. Print.
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