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"The Open Boat" Essay

1296 words - 6 pages

“The Open Boat”
The relationship between man and nature
Many stories talk about the idea of fate, the idea that no matter how much a person tries to survive, nature ultimately chooses the person’s path of life. The short story, “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane illustrates the relationship between nature and man and how nature’s indifference towards man’s effort for survival. In this account, the narrator, Stephen Crane explains to the readers that no matter how hard one tries to fight nature in order to survive, at the end nature will ultimately take its course and kill off the unwanted humans that are in its way.
i. The significance of the setting
ii. Stylistic devices of color
iii. Use ...view middle of the document...

The emerald green color shows the ocean and the way the men see the ocean. Before the sun came out, the men saw the ocean as a slate color showing that they didn’t see hope for survival. However, when the sun came out and they saw the ocean change to the color, emerald green, where the men felt that there was hope to survive the ocean’s waves. Additionally, the colors are so vivid that you visualize the movie of what is happening in the story because of this description.
The narrator uses animal like characteristics to show that the waves were controlling the boat’s direction as opposed to the people steering the boat. He says, “as each wave came, and she rose for it, she seemed like a horse making at a fence outrageously high” (shorter seventh edition, 190) to illustrate that the ocean was trying to outrun the boat by making an obstacle for the boat to overcome. In addition, Stephen Crane gave nature God-like qualities in order to show that just like God, nature could be merciful to humans if it wants to but ultimately it has the power to decide people’s fates. We see this in the quote “The ominous slash of wind and the water affected them as it would have effected mummies” (page 203). At this point of the story the four men realize that they can’t control nature because now they realize there is no morality to nature and they shouldn’t expect reward from nature because nature operates on its own terms.
Another stylistic device is repetition. We see this repetition when the men chanted, “If I am going to be drowned- if I am going to be drowned… why, in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea, was I allowed to come this far and contemplate sand and trees?” (Norton Anthology of short fiction, Page 195) This quote shows that nature and the gods of the sea have control on whether they survive this horrible storm. They have to fight it but ultimately nature decides man’s fate. However, we can’t let nature do everything for us. We have to be worthy for nature to keep us alive and in order to do that, we have to fight at every chance we get to succeed in life. If we don’t fight for ourselves then how can nature say that we are worthy for survival?
In order to fight nature (the storm) the four men had to work together and find out the skills of their comrades in order to survive. The author used their jobs instead of their names because in order to survive it was their skills that were more important than their...

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