The Theme of Community in the Open Boat Essay

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Stephen Crane's Theme of Community

Stephen Crane is well known in the literary world for his many underlying themes. In Stephan Crane's "The Open Boat," one of the many themes that can be seen is that of community. He brings to life the importance of the each individual's role in the group setting. Crane uses a dire situation in which men's lives are in the hands of each other to show that without group togetherness no one would make it. He shows the group being given false hopes from outside forces but, how in the end the group must band together for survival and not rely on anything but themselves. "The Open Boat" is one of Crane's best known works. Throughout the story, paralleling an actually event in his life Crane brings the
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By using his personal life experience he created a masterpiece. Crane later moved to England, where he passed away in 1900 from tuberculosis at the age of 29. (Encyclopedia)

Crane begins the story with four characters, the captain, the correspondent, the cook, and the Oiler, bailing and rowing in their small craft. He shows the self sacrifice of each individual, and how each person must do his part for the community of men to survive. In the beginning of the story a passage states, "The oiler, steering with one of the two oars in the boat, sometimes raised himself suddenly to keep clear of water that swirled in over the stern. It was a thin little oar and it seemed often ready to snap. The correspondent, pulling at the other oar.... ." 1 This in the most basic sense illustrates each man doing his part for the group. The correspondent and oiler continuously take turns rowing their small craft, never stopping, only resting when spelled by the other. The cook sits in the bottom of their floating hell bailing the seawater. The captain masters the craft and keeps the men together. Without each finger of the proverbial hand there would be no fist. Together, the men fell into this situation, and for their survival, together they must learn to become one.

The most powerful section of the story supporting the community theme reads, "IT would be difficult to describe the subtle brotherhood of men
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