Essay on The Open Boat By Stephen Crane

Essay on The Open Boat By Stephen Crane

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“When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples.” In other words, nature is an apathetic force that acts upon the lives of human beings simply as a consequence of their existence. However maddening and frightening this may be, man is in essence a byproduct of the environment and its conditions. “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane displays a theme commonly found in naturalistic works of literature (517). According to “Realism in the Frontier,” naturalism begins in the late 19th century and continues into the early 20th century as philosophical movement influenced by the French author Emile Zola that began. Described as one step beyond Realism, Naturalism in literature portrays its characters and their conflicts objectively and impartially (Bowler 431). Natural forces such as genetics, environment, and birthright determine one’s destiny, not the individual. Meaning, an individual’s actions, no matter the intention, will not be able to change anything since natural forces determine everyone’s fate. The few naturalistic writers that embraced the movement believed they had no power over their own lives, so their works have the propensity of being pessimistic and unforgiving (Bowler 431). In naturalistic works of literature, nature afflicts the individual lives as well as define their characters and conflicts. Naturalistic works of literature share common themes such as the impact of heredity, the indifference of nature to human lives, and the importance of economic circumstances. Authors utilize the naturalistic movement and its...


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...of Courage” utilize this contrast as well. By showcasing this contrast, the author can create a better depiction for the reader that will help them understand more about the characters and their circumstances, therefore enhancing the meaning of the work with a naturalistic conflict. Authors will also take heredity and economic stances to create more a conflict in a character’s life. In Ethan Frome, there would be no conflict without his heredity and economic circumstances. All of his problems stems from these two themes. Ethan Frome is not the only naturalistic work of literature that applies these themes. Naturalism went deeper than the movement and Realism. It included other movements like Determinism and was even influenced by Social Darwinism. Characteristics of Naturalism have survived the decades and continue to make prominent appearances in modern literature.

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