“The Open Boat””
“From the first moment [sentence referencing “the sky”], … The Open Boat proceeds as a traditional sea journey to knowledge, and the knowledge it attains is equally as mysterious or religious as that envisioned in other great American sea journeys ---…”
The “Open Boat” is a short story written by Stephen Crane (1871-1900). This story develops the tragic fate of the SS Commodore. This ship had for mission to transport ammunition for the Cuban rebels from Jacksonville, Florida to Cuba with his 28 Souls On Board. Unfortunately the ship sank after hitting a sandbar because of the fog. This story relates how the crew was fighting with the sea for his life and how they survived in the life raft during two long nights. In this paper we will argue the fact that despite some aspects, the “Open Boat” is still considered as a traditional sea journey.
So what makes it traditional? There is nothing more traditional than a Sea story with a shipwreck. Numerous stories related with the sea are narrating how ships were destroyed or were sinking in the sea. In the “Open Boat”, the story starts right after the shipwreck so the narrator does not tell any specific detail about it. Nevertheless the “shipwreck” is the starting point of the story. From “A Descent Into the Maelstrom”, to “Titanic”, the destruction of the ship is the most important part of the story because it either way starts or ends the story. The way that the shipwreck will take place will promote the story. In Titanic, when the boat hit the Iceberg, the sinking of the gigantic boat killed around a thousand and five hundred people. It happened more than a hundred years ago and we are still talking about it. This tragic story is an unforgettable part of the history and it will stay in our memory thanks to the “billion dollar movie” produced by James Cameron in 1997.
A great story is always made with a disruptive element, but also some extraordinary characters. The SS Commodore had 28 crews on board and after his tragic sinking the story reveals that only four survived. Unfortunately, the story does not develop how the 24 crews died but it develops how the four courageous crewmembers are fighting in order to survive during two long nights. The survivors are the Captain, the cook, the correspondent (the narrator) and the oiler “Billie Higgins”. The Captain is definitely the most respected in this story and represents the ideal leader. After the shipwreck, he’s injured and extremely sad because of the loss of his crew and his ship but the cook and the oiler are still listening to his orders. “The hurt captain, lying against the water-jar in the bow, spoke always in a low voice and calmly, but he could never command a more ready and swiftly obedient crew than the motley three of the dinghy.”(The Open Boat). When at first he advises to not get too close to the shores because of the size of the waves, the entire crew obeys at his order....