Naturalism in "The Open Boat"

1504 Words Mar 25th, 2013 7 Pages
February 24 2012
Essay 1
Word Count: 1515
Olivia Calder
“The Open Boat”

“The Open Boat” is a short story written by Steven Crane about four men stranded on a dinghy after their boat had sunk over night. The men were struggling to stay alive because it seemed as if they had no hope for survival. The four stranded shipmen were a correspondent, an oiler, a cook, and a captain. The theme of the story is that man has no control over his destinies and that nature controls everything. Naturalist themes prevail in Stephen Crane's “The Open Boat” as it demonstrates naturalist literature through the struggle that nature throws at the men. Naturalism arises throughout the men’s constant battle between their surrounding environment and keeping
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The men came to the conclusion that “fate” must be the reason that they are experiencing this deathly situation. It is the understanding of this fact that brings the men to the edge of their misery. At this point the men feel like their lives are coming to an end, so much so that they even ask the captain if they have a chance at survival, to which the captain replies "If this wind holds and the boat don't swamp, we can't do much else." This quote shows the uselessness that the men feel, but it also makes apparent there is still a possibility of hope.
Steven Crane really emphasizes the uselessness and the hopelessness they feel against the universe, "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 and contemplate sand and trees? Was I brought here merely to have my nose dragged away as I was about to nibble the sacred cheese of life? It is preposterous." At this point the men actually made sight to land yet are too far to even make the effort to swim. How could the universe be so unfair that it would let them have a small taste or “nibble of the sacred cheese of life” at surviving? They had been through a drastic environment to get to where they are. If the universe cared about them at all, it would find a way for the men to make it to land, although when it comes

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