It was a sunny day, the sky was bright blue and the clouds fluffy and white. The immense fields and the deep green grass surrounded a happy community. Children’s laughter and happy chattering were the beautiful music that delighted the ears. But like any community, there are secrets that torture souls and change lives forever. In “The Monster” by Stephen Crane, we see how a community’s true face is revealed and the people are turned into monsters.
Based on a deeper understanding of the story, many facts denying that Henry was a monster, and details pointing to the townspeople being monsters, we can prove the validity of the statement, “The town, not Henry, were the monsters. ” In order to prove the validity of the statement, “The town, not Henry, were the monsters,” we have to comprehend the story and analyze the symbols. “The Monster” by Stephen Crane is an insightful portrayal of the negative consequences of mob mentality and small-town pettiness rooted in prejudice against people who are in a way different from the town.
The title of the story itself has multiple meanings. The title refers to Henry Johnson who had a monstrous appearance after he risked his life to save his employer’s young son from certain death. It also refers to “the town” seeing Dr. Trescott as a monster for not letting Henry Johnson die. In reality, neither Johnson nor Dr. Trescott is a monster from a moral point of view, since Johnson saves Dr. Trescott’s son and Dr. Trescott saves Johnson. We learn that the worst monsters are not the ugly ones but the morally prejudiced ones, such as Jake Winter and Judge Hagenthorpe.
Crane aimed to show that the townspeople were cruel to the man they all thought died doing a heroic deed. John Twelve is considered a major character in the story. Imaku 2 This is considered an allusion to the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of John. According to the Gospel of John, Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus four days after his death. Therefore, Crane’s allusion would be relevant because Trescott has saved Johnson from the jaws of imminent death. Truly understanding this concept would allow a much detailed analysis of the story.
In “The Monster” by Stephen Crane, Henry Johnson worked for Dr. Trescott and truly cared about Dr. Trescott’s son, Jim. In the fire that threatened the life of Jim, Johnson was greatly burned as he saved the boy’s life. The only recognizable feature of Henry was “ a single blinking eye. ” He was made a hero by the townspeople when they first heard what had occurred but they soon became hostile when they saw how Henry looked. The loved man with a good appearance, for which he was proud of, attracted the surprise and admiration of the townspeople.
Later, however, his appearance inspired their horror and hatred. Many agree that Henry would have been treated better if he had been white and a more prominent or richer person in the town. But at the same time, being a prominent white doctor did not make a difference because Dr. Trescott was still outcasted from the community. The people in the town knew what they wanted and were willing to use all the resources they had to achieve their goal of removing a “monster” from the community. Dr. Trescott is also not the monster because, as Martha Goodwin agreed, it was his moral obligation to save Henry Johnson. Dr. Trescott did everything possible to repay Johnson for saving his son’s life. Just like he could not fix the flower in the beginning of the story, there was only so much Dr. Trescott could do to heal Johnson. The Trescotts are completely outcasted from the community; in other words, they lost face. In the end of the story, the only person who attended Mrs. Trescott’s tea party was Mrs. Twelve.
Even Judge Hagenthorpe’s wife, who first supported Dr. Trescott and his family after the fire, did not attend. Lastly, Henry Johnson’s loss of his face serves as a metaphor for a more dramatic loss, not his Imaku 3 own. The true face of cruelty of the townspeople is revealed; there is no face of kindness. Their humanity is simply lost because they do not want to tolerate a man who looks scary and frightens the children. In the story, Crane creates the theme of mob mentality even before the fire. The town is escribed as a collective entity, expressing unity in thought and action. “And then they wheeled upon each other simultaneously, and, in a single explosion, they shouted, ‘One! ’“The townspeople are not described as individuals with single opinion rather than reflect the attitudes of the community. When the small group of men gathered at Hagenthorpe’s house first to prepare for their confrontation with Trescott, they are relying on safety in numbers and mutual support for something that is discriminatory. In these scenes, Crane reinforces the strength of mob mentality.
We see that Henry need the support of the town to recover emotionally but he found it hard to continue his old life. The sky turns dark and the clouds turn violent. The streets are quiet and the fields ever so silent. Children and people afraid to leave their houses because of the “monster. ” In “The Monster” by Stephen Crane, we see how a community’s true face is revealed. Based on a deeper understanding of the story, many facts denying that Henry was a monster, and details pointing to the townspeople being monsters, we can prove the validity of the statement, “The town, not Henry, were the monsters. ”