The Open Boat by Stephen Crane Essay

579 Words 3 Pages
The Open Boat by Stephen Crane


“The Open Boat” Four men drift across a January sea in an open boat, since they lost their ship some time after dawn. Now, in the clear light of day, the men begin to grasp the full gravity of their situation. Realizing that their main conflict will be man versus nature, in this case, the raging sea. In the short story “The Open Boat,” Stephen Crane gives an itemized description of the two days spent on a ten-foot dinghy by four men a cook, a correspondent, which is Crane himself, the injured Captain and Billy Higgens, the oiler. The men in the open boat show us that compassion for one’s comrade, unfeeling endurance, and courage are the true moral standards in a neutral universe. Characterization
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It is explained in the story that many men should have a bathtub bigger than the boat they were riding in. This is amazing at the beginning of the story, when Crane mentions that they were the only ones to survive how ungrateful these characters are to be alive in this big hateful world. During the story the correspondent realizes how lucky he is to be alive and how this was the best experience of his life. He learns how not to be cynical of men because we are all in the war against nature together. While the men are afloat they learn a highly momentous lesson about man versus nature. The natural world does not play favorites among men. The captain realizes this when all of his crew goes down with the ship except him and three other men. The correspondent found this to be true when the shark was hunting him while he rowed. The war with nature raged on in the story showing no signs of letting go. With nature playing tricks on them as they go. For example, The people on the beach, waving at them. Also, the man swinging his coat continuously. Then when the thought it could not get worse the boat capsizes. When the exhausted passengers eventually drifted to shore the oiler finds himself a victim of man versus nature. Another conflict in this story was with man versus self. An example of this conflict is, “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…