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Whilomville Stories

by Stephen Crane

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Book Description
Whilomville is an imaginary town, but it is believed to have been modeled after the town in which Stephen Crane lived as a child. The thirteen stories contained within are a detailed account of the life and times of young Jimmie Trescott and his friends. From the haircut episode of "The Angel Child" to the play-acting of "The Trial, Execution, and Burial of Homer Phelps" the stories are charmingly nostalgic without being sentimental or saccharine. Crane knows how children think and act. "Little Phelps had now passed into that state which may be described as a curious and temporary childish fatalism. He still objected, but it was only feeble muttering, as if he did not know what he spoke. In some confusion they carried him to the rectangle of hemlock boughs and dropped him. Then they piled other boughs upon him until he was not to be seen. The chief stepped forward to make a short address, but before proceeding with it he thought it expedient, from certain indications, to speak to the grave itself. "Lie still, can't ye? Lie still until I get through." There was a faint movement of the boughs, and then a perfect silence."

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The two victims opened wide eyes at each other. The fence separated them, and so it was impossible for them to immediately engage; but they seemed to understand that they were ultimately to be sacrificed to the ferocious aspirations of the other boys, and each scanned the other to learn something of his spirit. They were not angry at all.



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