The Open Boat Essay

797 WordsMar 1, 20054 Pages
MAN VS. NATURE "None of them knew the color of the sky." This first sentence in Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" implies the overall relationship between the individual and nature. This sentence also implies the limitations of anyone's perspective. The men in the boat concentrate so much on the danger they are in, that they are oblivious and unaware to everything else; in other words, maybe lacking experience. "The Open Boat" begins with a description of four men aboard a small boat on a rough sea. The central theme of this story is about confronting Nature itself. "The Open Boat" is Stephen Crane's account from an outsider's point of view of the two days spent in a small boat. The correspondent is autobiographical in…show more content…
This statement may suggest the meaningless or irrelevance of an individual's sense of self-importance against the power of nature. The human voyage into life is basically uncontrollable and unpredictable. In the beginning, the men in the boat view nature as evil and unjust; nature's own personal vendetta. Since the crew on a dangerous sea without hope are depicted as "the babes of the sea," we can assume that we are likely to be unknowing strangers in the universe. In addition to the danger we face, we have to also overcome the new challenges of the "waves" in daily life. These waves are "most wrongfully and barbarously abrupt and tall," requiring "a new leap, and a leap." Are we powerless against nature? Can we control our own fate? Although the men struggle to survive and make it to shore, we never really know until the end, if they are going to drown. Their fate seems to fall into the hands of forces beyond their control. A perfect example is when the correspondent gets caught in a current while trying to swim to shore. He is trapped by an invisible force, a current, which he can not understand or escape. Suddenly, the current frees him, and he is washed ashore by a huge wave. This is an unexpected turn of events being that the strongest rower, the oiler, does not survive yet he seemed the most physically able and the most determined to survive. The correspondent, troubled by his impressions and realities, learns that nature is

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