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They look like a stream or river: And from this region of noises came the steady current of the maimed.
Crane comes from the Realism/Naturalism school. He will spend more time emphasizing the conditions and their effect on what is happening than he will on the people. He will purposely stay detached from the human element in the story, this goes along with the Naturalist belief that the universe is indifferent to the plight of man.