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Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" Essay

1096 words - 4 pages

Stephen Crane: The Open BoatThere are many good short stories in this world, but how many of them can captivate the reader in such a short amount of time like that of Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat." As a reader of this story one may feel as if they too were on the boat with these men. Not just any writer could activate the reader in such a manner as this. Yet we will never know the true extent to how much more of an impact he would have made on American literature due to his early demise. Stephen Crane lived from 1871 to 1900, dying at the young age of twenty-nine. The fourteenth and youngest child of a Methodist minister, Crane was born on November 1, 1871 (Perkins 1304). From a very young age Crane loved to write. Crane was apparently a born writer, and he turned to newspaper work as the natural and quick means to make a living for himself. While in college he would even sell sketches to the Detroit Free Press and during the summers he had written news for his brother. As a writer it was his nature to be experimental. At age twenty he wrote Maggie, the United States first completely naturalistic novel. By the age of twenty-four he produced The Red Badge of Courage, the first examples of American impressionism. In some of his poetry he had become one of the first writers to respond to the radical genius of Emily Dickinson. Although he lived a very short life he was " in every respect phenomenal" (Perkins 1304). He died in Baldenweilder, Germany due to many health issues.In the year 1898, Stephen Crane composed the short story he named "The Open Boat." "The Open Boat" is a particularly interesting story because of the great detail that the author extends and because of the "solitary reflections of the characters in consideration of their demise" (UIC.edu). The story possesses amazingly vivid description. This attention to detail affords the reader the greatest degree of reading pleasure. Crane paints such glorious images in the reader's mind with his eloquence. "The sun swung steadily up the sky, and they knew it was broad day because the colour of the sea changed from slate to emerald green streaked with amber lights, and the foam was like tumbling snow" (Perkins 1309). Artistic sentences of such caliber are not often found. The reader is left with a terrific vision of the perilous sea maintaining its beauty amongst the violence of the wind. "Their back- bones had become thoroughly used to balancing in the boat and they now rode this wild colt of a dinghy like circus men" (Perkins 1312). Here, again, Crane uses splendid detail to capture the essence of the chaotic situation. Stephen Crane's use of description in his writings is one of the major factors in what made this story a literary masterpiece.In his short story, "The Open Boat," Stephen Crane also shows us a universe totally unconcerned with the affairs of humankind; it is an indifferent universe in which man has to struggle to survive. The characters in the story come face to face with...

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