The Open Boat by Stephen Crane Essay

The Open Boat by Stephen Crane Essay

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The Open Boat by Stephen Crane


“The Open Boat” Four men drift across a January sea in an open boat, since they lost their ship some time after dawn. Now, in the clear light of day, the men begin to grasp the full gravity of their situation. Realizing that their main conflict will be man versus nature, in this case, the raging sea. In the short story “The Open Boat,” Stephen Crane gives an itemized description of the two days spent on a ten-foot dinghy by four men a cook, a correspondent, which is Crane himself, the injured Captain and Billy Higgens, the oiler. The men in the open boat show us that compassion for one’s comrade, unfeeling endurance, and courage are the true moral standards in a neutral universe. Characterization creates the setting in this story. It is said in the book that the protagonist’s personality sets the action or the setting in a story. The four men in this story make up the entire cast; there is no one protagonist. An all-knowing narrator writes this story, which is Crane. This story also enforces that this is a collective experience. The emotional support and the knowledge of the sea come from the injured captain. The strength and endurance comes from the correspondent and the oiler, which keeps them all, headed in the right direction. The cook is an example of the three that are ignorant about the raging sea. Characterization is a prime example of setting of this story since the characters make up the majority of the setting. The setting in “The Open Boat” creates the story. “A seat in this boat was not unlike a seat upon a bucking bronco, and by the same token a bronco is not much smaller. The craft pranced and reared and plunged like an animal.” These few lines help the reader to imagine the ...


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.... Also, the captain fighting with his inner self wonders how in the world his ship could sink. Wondering why he did not go down with his ship to save another crew member. Meanwhile, the oiler fights with himself wondering why he is going through so much pain and suffering of rowing the boat when they are all going to die anyway. Man versus self is can sometimes be more of a killer than man versus nature because of the mental anguish a person can go through to find reasons why nature would do this to him. The men in “The Open Boat” has shown us that no one person or a group can out smart or out think nature. Nature has shown us that it does not play favorites. As a result, four men land on an island and only three live to tell about their war against nature. In conclusion, nature does things for a reason, we might not always be able to know why but there is a reason.

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