The Open Boat
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In his story, The Open Boat, Stephen Crane recites the tale of four men stranded at sea in a boat. They were struggling against the anger of a violent sea. Crane, often viewed as a master of realism combined with naturalism, offers of a realistic atmosphere that at times overwhelms the reader with a feeling of being stranded with these men. “The horizon narrowed and widened, and dipped and rose, and at all times its edge was jagged with waves that seemed thrust up in points like rocks.” This passage, at the beginning of the story, reveals Crane’s ability to develop a quality of naturalism.
Stephen Crane writes of man’s battle with the forces of the sea. The men in his story are reduced to fruitless actions against the formidable qualities of a stormy sea. Crane allows these men to come to the realization that they are no match for the strength of nature. Their futility is echoed in the words of this collective thought uttered by the musings of each man. “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 allowed to come thus far and contemplate sand and trees.” In addition to this thought Crane continues, “When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples.”