Shift To Modernism From The Past

Skyler, Parker, and Ethan


The short story "An Episode of War" by Crane was about a lieutenant who was rationing out coffee blocks for his whole regime he was in command of, when suddenly he was shot in the arm from a distance. He had gotten up off the ground where he was sitting, and began to walk around the battlefield trying to find medical help. He tries to sheathe the sword he was wielding but has trouble since he is wounded severely in his arm, he sees many things while he is walking and he is constantly thinking of the troubles and hardships of life itself. This story takes place during the Civil War where the United States was greatly divided between the North and the South with many different beliefs. Abraham Lincoln became the President of the United States of America in 1861, later assassinated. After Lincoln was assassinated, this pushed the North even harder towards their goal of the emancipation of slavery and bringing the south back into the Union. The Civil war was symbolical for the formation of the United States as we know it today and the hardships faced by the soldiers could be felt through this short story.


The short story "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane is about 4 shipment stranded on the coast of Florida this is actually based on a true story. The story starts out with them on the lifeboat. There is really no mention of the shipwreck. They think they see a lighthouse. As they try to get closer to the lighthouse, they use the captain’s overcoat to make a sail. It works until the wind dies down. They get closer and see it actually is land. They try to paddle inland but the waves are too strong. Also, it is too far for them to swim. So they have to wait until the sea is calmer to get to shore. They paddle deeper out to sea where it is calm. Then the 4 guys see a man on the shore. He waves to them. They think he is gonna rescue them. Turns out he just is being friendly. So they keep paddling. The oiler and correspondent take turns. Then when the correspondent is paddling, he starts daydreaming. He thinks about this story he heard when he was younger about a Legionnaire soldier dying in Algiers. The soldier just laid on the sand to die. The crew decides to jump out and swim when they are close enough. The injured captain hangs on to the boat. They make it inland and people are waiting there with blankets and food. They are saved.


The short story "Soldiers Home" by Ernest Hemingway is a story about a soldier, Krebs, who returns home to America after fighting for America. At this point in history, the U.S. has just won WW1. Woodrow Wilson is ending his last term in presidency and a new president is about to be inaugurated. Krebs has returned kind of late. Most other soldiers have already returned. The nation is mainly happy after a victory and ready to see who their next president is going to be. They love listening "heroic" stories rather the frightening and the real realities of war. Krebs is stuck between lying about stories and satisfying what the people want to hear, or telling the truth. Krebs' integrity is challenged. Hemingway, having served in WW1 himself, wrote this story to exemplify the challenges that soldiers faced when returning to America after war. Because the soldiers have been gone for so long, society has changed and the soldiers are struggling to adjust.


In all 3 of these time periods we see plenty of similarities. For example, during all 3 time that these short stories were written, the whole country had been wondering who would be the president. During these time periods in history there were wars occurring. Which left the attitude for the country to be very sad and separated with the debate on fighting in these wars or not. All 3 of these stories characters also have a sense of solitude and being separated away from society.