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"The Tell Tale Heart," By Edger Allen Poe, And "The Open Boat," By Stephen Crane

1120 words - 4 pages

ImagesAs I read "The Tell-Tale Heart," by Edger Allen Poe, and "The Open Boat," by Stephen Crane, I was torn between the classic realism in "The Open Boat," and the atypical scenes from "The Tell-Tale Heart." Both stories, however, were very effective in keeping my interest and imagination running.Stephen Crane gives a sense of realism to "The Open Boat" due to his real life tale of survival of a shipwreck on his way to Havana (Crane, p. 192). The detail of the scenery and waves, and the use of common everyday objects to describe the detail makes the story easier for the reader to picture. The reader feels as if (s)he were on the open seas. For example, when Crane was describing the size and movement of the boat, "Many a man ought to have a bathtub larger than the boat which here rode upon the sea" (p. 192), Crane went on later to say, "A seat in this boat was not unlike a seat upon a bucking broncho, and by the same token a broncho is not much smaller" (p. 193). Crane's description of the waves is also picturesque:These waves were of the hue of slate, save for the tops, which were of foaming white, and all of the men know the colors of the sea. The horizon narrowed and widened, and dipped and rose, and at all times its edge was jagged with waves that seemed thrust up in points like rocks. (p. 192)I felt the most significant realism in the story, however, was the struggle the men had against nature to survive. In life we all struggle from time to time. It is at those moments that we realize that despite our continued efforts, we are at the mercy of nature, and conceivably we might, as in "The Open Boat," imagine something like: "If I am going to be drowned-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 thus far..." (pp. 199, 202, 204).As we continue to realize that nature is in control, we conclude that we are insignificant in the whole scheme of life. Stephen Crane talks about how cruel and disheartening this is by saying:"When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks, and no temples. Any visible expression of nature would surely be pelleted with his jeers. (p. 204).In the end, the fact that we survive the realism of life and the men that survived in "The Open Boat" is attributed to luck, because humans are helpless to choose their own fate in a nature-filled universe that is indifferent to their hard work or suffering.In contrast to "The Open Boat," "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe, in my opinion, is very imaginary. However, in spite of the imagination, Poe kept my interest throughout the whole story. My interest was due to the fact that I could not conclude what was going to happen next. My uncertainty was because the story was of little common general...

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