The Open Boat Essay, Research Paper
One of America s best novelist, poets, and short-story writers was Stephen Crane. Born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 1, 1871, he was his parent s fourteenth (and last) child. Crane spent less then two years in collage and then went to New York to live in a medical students boardinghouse while freelancing his way to a literary career.
One of Stephen Crane s best short stories was The Open Boat . The main characters were the captain, the correspondent, the oiler, and the cook. These four men were forced to get into one dingy after there ship sank. All they had was one glass of water and four cigars. The weather was unbearable. The waves were crashing into the boat and it was pouring down rain. The weather was so bad that they had to scream conversations back and forth to each other. But even though they were screaming, still they could not understand each other. One of them had to paddle while the others scooped water out of the boat. Finally it calmed down and they started to see land in the distance. They started to celebrate, by smoking cigars and drinking the last of the water. Then the weather started up again, as they got closer they could see people on the land. They were screaming and yelling, but the people could not see or hear them. The boat was to small and they were to far out for the people to hear them. The weather started to get a lot worse. They started to row as fast and as hard as they could. The waves were terrible and they were using up all of there energy. As they got closer the waves got even bigger. Then all of a sudden a huge wave came and destroyed the small boat. The four men were thrown out of the boat. They started swimming frantically towards the shore. There energy was all almost all used up from trying to row the boat towards the shore. Even though they had on life jackets, they were still struggling to swim towards shore. The land they were trying to reach looked as though there was nobody on it. As they reached closer the correspondent was struggling. A man from the beach came running to save them. Before he got in the water, he stripped all the way down. He first dragged ashore the cook and then went for the captain. But the captain told he to save the correspondent. As he dragged him to shore, he suddenly pointed and said, What s that!
It was the oiler face down in the sand that was periodically, between each wave, clear of the sea. Unfortunately he did not make it. Instantly the beach was full of men with blankets, water, and flasks and women with coffee pots and every thing that was sacred to them. As it came night the waves paced and the wind brought the sound of the great sea s voice to the men and they felt that they could be interpreters.
The story possesses amazingly vivid description. This attention to detail affords the reader the greatest degree of reading pleasure. Crane paints such glorious images in reader\’s mind with his eloquence. \”The morning appeared finally, in its splendor, with a sky of pure blue, and the sunlight flamed on the tips of waves\”. Artistic sentences of such caliber are not often found. The reader is left with a terrific vision of the perilous sea maintaining its beauty amongst the violence of the wind. \”Their back- bones had become thoroughly used to balancing in the boat and they now rode this wild colt of a dinghy like circus men\”. Here, again, Crane uses splendid detail to capture the essence of the chaotic situation.
Another attribute to the story is the insight that the third person narrator offers to the reader regarding the sailors\’ state of mind. Particularly interesting, is the reference to the poem \”Bingen on the Rhine\”. Until the correspondent must contemplate his own death on the cold and desolate seas, he does not realize the tragedy of a soldier of the legion dying in Algiers. Also, not only did he not realize the significance, he says that, \”it was less to him than the breaking of a pencil\’s point\”. Again, towards the end of the story, the narrator describes the bitterness the correspondent feels towards nature when he realizes that after all his efforts he may not live to appreciate his being. Observations such as these are not encountered frequently until confronted with death and the conveyance of these thoughts is insightful and meaningful to the reader.
The only depreciative factor in the story is the length. The men\’s state of affairs carried too long. For superfluous periods of time the story is reported without any change of events. The narrator continually describes the men\’s conditions without any great fluctuations. The situation neither improves nor deteriorates; it just exists. However, while uneventful, the reading is still entertaining because of Crane\’s splendid style. The reader feels a peculiar intimacy with the stranded men and shares their desperation.
I feel that this story talks about your fate and how you cannot escape it. It was their fate that their steamer crashes. And it was there fate that three of them make it too shore alive. It was the oiler time to die and he couldn t escape it even if he would have swum harder. He was struggling the whole time and it was his fate to go down. I learned that you never know what your fate is and when it comes you cannot escape it.