Literary Naturalism In Stephen Crane's The Open Boat

Decent Essays

Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat:” An Analysis According to Literary Naturalism “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane is a short story included in The Norton Introduction to Literature. In it, we embark on the journey of four men, whose ship has sunk and are now adrift. The characters fight for survival throughout the whole tale, trying to withstand nature. As the story passes, they realize that nature is indifferent and uncaring. Moreover, they begin to question the existence of God. Ultimately, three of the men survive and one of them dies. Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” shows the struggle of men attempting to understand nature and desiring to survive against this invincible and indifferent force. I will analyze literary elements of character, plot, and symbol, using Literary Naturalism to demonstrate this constant conflict between man and nature that plays out in “The Open Boat.” …show more content…

The narrator begins this story stating, “None of them knew the color of the sky” (338). He refers to the cook, the correspondent, the captain, and the oiler, the main characters. This quote means that all of them are focused on fighting for survival, paying all of their attention to the waves. They fight against the waves, trying to stay alive. However, the author states, “A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully surmounting one wave you discover that there is another behind it just as important and just as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way of swamping boats” (339). The waves are a symbol of the uncaring nature; it does not matter how hard the protagonists try to fight against the waves because nature continues its course; the waves continue to flow. However, the characters are determined to stay alive. They continue to face this external conflict that is nature, even when they realize that nature is

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