Tyhe Open Boat Essay, Research Paper
The Open Boat
By Stephen Crane
?The Open Boat? is a story of four men who drift across a January sea in an open boat, since they lost their ship some time after dawn. The main conflict in this story is man versus nature, in this case the raging sea. Stephen Crane gives a description of two days spent on a ten-foot dinghy by four men a cook,
a correspondent, which is Crane himself, the injured captain, and the oiler, Billy Higgins. This story enforces that this is a collective experience. The emotional support and the knowledge of the sea come from the captian. The strength and endurance comes from the correspondent and the oiler. The cook is an example of the three that are ignorant about the raging sea.
The setting in ?The Open Boat? creates the story. ?A seat in this boat was unlike a seat upon a bucking bronco, and by the same token a bronco is not much smaller.? In the beginning story 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 Crane 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 a war against nature together.
While the men are in afloat they learn a huge lesson about man versus nature. The natural world does not play favorites amongst men. The captain realizes this when all of his crew goes down with the ship except him and three other men. Crane learns this lesson to be true when the shark was hunting him while he rowed. The war against nature raged on in this story with no signs of letting go.
Another conflict found in this story is man versus self. An example of this conflict is, ?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?? All four men were found to be arguing this at some point. While the men are at war with nature they are at war with themselves, trying to understand nature. The captain fighting with his inner self wonders how his ship could sink, and wonders why he did not go down with his ship to save another crew member.
The men in ?The Open Boat? show us that no one person or group can outsmart nature. Nature has shown us no favoritism. In the end, four land on an island and only three live to tell about their war against nature. In conclusion nature has reasons for its actions, however; it is not possible for man to allways comprehend its reasoning.