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Examples Of Figurative Language In The Open Boat

Decent Essays
“..(T)he serenity of nature amid the struggles of the individual--nature in the wind, and nature in the vision of men. She did not seem cruel to him then, nor beneficent, nor treacherous, nor wise. But she was indifferent, flatly indifferent.”(Crane). This nonchalant aspect of nature dominates Stephen Crane’s short story, The Open Boat, in order to highlight the meaning of the esoteric voice of the sea in view of man’s blights and life itself. Crane’s story portrays a group of shipwrecked men in a lifeboat, drifting on the ebbs and flows of uncertainty, held at the mercies of Nature’s will. Crane’s usage of profound figurative language and ominous imagery work to convey a message of man’s insignificant presence and yet most illuminating perseverance…show more content…
As “The third wave moved forward, huge, furious, implacable,” (Crane) the men went overboard and they were under the complete mercies of the sea. Here, Crane portrays the oiler, “swimming strongly and rapidly” (Crane) towards the shore, while the other men lingered behind, holding on to whatever helped them float. Crane also shows how “The coldness of the water was sad; it was tragic” (Crane), indicating that staying in the water too long would be tragic. Thus, by setting up this kind of imagery, Crane makes his reader think that the oiler was the one sure to survive due to his vigor and rapidity, while the others would meet their fate in the cold waters. It is ironic to the reader therefore, when the exact opposite happens: “In the shallows, face downward, lay the oiler.” (Crane) The oiler had died, while the others lived. This clearly shows the inscrutable influence of the nature’s power as it interferes with life and death. Through this last bit of irony in the story, Crane gives delivers his final message to the reader that nature will have the final say. That is why as “the white waves paced to and fro in the moonlight, and the wind brought the sound of the great sea's voice to the men on shore,” Crane enables his readers to feel along with the crew “that they could then be interpreters” (Crane). It is just “indifferent, flatly indifferent”
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