On "linguistic presumptuousness in Crane":

I've wanted to say something about the linguistic presumptuousness of the narrator in Crane. Now I can, because Alex in his paper comments on the "affectionately dubbed assassin" - to which, in my comments, I wrote:

I think you're right, although it can still be understood (by readers, I mean) as unintentionally negative and/or condescending. It's after all based on a first-world/we-have-you-don't "tick" of language: the narrator takes his own simile and then turns it into a denotation (or description). If I say Hannah is cute as a button once, and then call her "Button," I'm not describing her so much as making my own automatic (cliched) language act like a description, which doesn't do her much service and assumes much about my power over her. I think the narrator has a similar power over the homeless person being described.
Al Filreis