The Open Boat by Stephen Crane Essay

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In the story "The Open Boat," by Stephen Crane, Crane uses many literary techniques to convey the stories overall theme. The story is centered on four men: a cook, a correspondent, Billie, an oiler who is the only character named in the story, and a captain. They are stranded in a lifeboat in stormy seas just off the coast of Florida, just after their ship has sunk. Although they can eventually see the shore, the waves are so big that it is too dangerous to try to take the boat in to land. Instead, the men are forced to take the boat further out to sea, where the waves are not quite as big and dangerous. They spend the night in the lifeboat and take turns rowing and then resting. In the morning, the men are weak and exhausted. The captain…show more content…
They are so consumed with their struggle against the waves they do not even have the time to notice something as simple as the color of the sky. From the very beginning the reader is filled with the suspense that each individual character feels. Despite the crews struggle with Mother Nature, they are continually struck by the fierce waves. With each passing wave the reader is lead to believe that this one will surely be the one that capsizes the little dingy. “As the salty wall of water approached, it shut all else from the view of the men in the boat, and was not difficult to imagine that this particular wave was the final outburst of the ocean (256).” Crane creates suspense between the reader and the characters that allow both to feel the relentlessness of nature’s indifference of their struggled attempts to survive. It seems that no matter how hard the crew works to keep the dingy from capsizing “… the waves continued their old impetuous swooping at the dingy, and the little craft, no longer underway struggled woundily over them (259).” The narrator describes the waves as acting carefree and rather impulsive as if they had no obligation to the men for their survival. Nature does not care that this crew of men were working to survive, but nor does it mean to cause the men any harm. The waves are merely there, doing as nature intends the waves

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