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Stephen Crane's The Open Boat Essay

776 words - 3 pages

Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat"

 
     “None of them knew the color of the sky.” This first sentence in Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” implies the overall relationship between the individual and nature. This sentence also implies the limitations of anyone’s perspective. The men in the boat concentrate so much on the danger they are in, that they are oblivious and unaware to everything else; in other words, maybe lacking experience. “The Open Boat” begins with a description of four men aboard a small boat on a rough sea. The central theme of this story is about confronting Nature itself. “The Open Boat" is Stephen Crane’s account from an outsider’s point of view of the two days spent in a small boat. The correspondent is autobiographical in nature; Stephen Crane was shipwrecked off the coast of Florida while working as a war correspondent. The correspondent in “The Open Boat” portrays the author. Mainly through the correspondent, Crane shows the power of nature and how one man’s struggle to survive ultimately depends on fate.

     The character of the correspondent learns that the principles of Nature is unpredictable by accident or by fate just as life itself is unpredictable. Stephen Crane pays special attention to the correspondent, who shares the painful chore of rowing the boat with the strong oiler. While rowing, he contemplates his situation and the part that nature plays in it. All of the men seem to know they are helpless in the face of nature.their lives, at any given moment, could be lost by practically anything; a shark, a big wave, the wind, or starvation. These men are at the mercy of chance; the forces of nature versus the struggles of man. Each of the men is faced with the likelihood of his own death. This realization deeply affects the men who feel that their death would be unfair despite all of their efforts to save themselves. It also affects the correspondent, who questions his own life: “He thought: ‘Am I going to drown? Can it be possible? Can it be possible?’ Perhaps and individual must consider his own death to be the final phenomenon of nature”(421). This statement may suggest the meaningless or irrelevance of an individual’s sense of self-importance against the power of nature.

     The human voyage into life is...

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