Stephen Crane 's The Open Boat

1456 Words6 Pages
What is the meaning of life? This probing question is often debated by human beings, and people from all recesses of the world will answer this question differently. However, not a single individual has presented an answer to this question that the world universally accepts. Different factions of people adhere to different answers. Often times, individuals will follow religions or philosophies because its beliefs provide answers to the question. More recently, in the middle Nineteenth Century to early Twentieth Century, this very question confused the brilliant writers of what is known as the “Realism Era” of literature. Their desired effect in writing was to present “a slice of life” which would explain part of the meaning of life,…show more content…
Nature’s apathy toward humankind’s obstacles is highlighted in an observation the correspondent makes about the tower. As the correspondent wonders about the tall wind tower on shore, he is observant of how the tower’s appearance is analogous to nature’s indifference:
This tower was a giant, standing with its back to the plight of the ants. It represented in a degree, to the correspondent, the 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, nor beneficent, nor treacherous, nor wise. But she was indifferent, flatly indifferent.

The correspondent’s examination of the tower’s back being to the crew creates a sense that it is unwilling to help the afflicted crew. This assertion is complementary to nature’s attitude: disinterest in humankind’s obstacles and unwillingness to help during humankind’s adversity. In addition, nature’s indifference is characterized by a disinterest in humankind’s presence. This idea is exemplified through the scene in which a group of birds miffs the crew. The narrator describes the indifferent attitude of a particular bird by describing that “one came, and evidently decided to alight on the top of the captain 's head. The bird flew parallel to the boat and did not circle, but made short sidelong jumps in the air in
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