Naturalism In Stephen Crane's The Open Boat

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A Study of Naturalism in “The Open Boat” In “The Open Boat” Stephen Crane employs the literary techniques of imagery, symbolism, personification, setting and situational irony to exemplify Naturalism as a movement. Crane reflects upon his real-life experience as he tries to make sense of man’s existence, man’s place in the natural world, man’s struggle for survival, and the importance of brotherhood to man. Despite the ruthless indifference of the sea and the hardships it presents, Crane suggests that the camaraderie among the characters is the key to making the trials and tribulations of their experience bearable. “The Open Boat” is a fictionalized portrayal of Stephen Crane’s experience following the sinking of the Commodore on New Year’s Eve, 1898. Crane fits the description of a naturalist because his writing “provides an excellent example of how environment affects people’s lives, opinions and destinies” (Kendir 2). …show more content…

“Facing the cruel nature, the men on the small boat find solace in human solidarity-a sentiment directly in contrast to men’s feelings towards nature. They know that the only way to endure the force of nature is through their comradeship” (Haque 124). In the boat, an unspoken sense of brotherhood develops between the cook, the oiler, the correspondent, and the injured captain. Despite being from different classes and occupations, the men are all equals in the boat. The bond they develop warms even the heart of the correspondent “who had been taught to be cynical of men” (Crane 717). As the narrator describes it, the experience makes them “friends in a more curiously ironbound degree than may be common,” (Crane 717) and provides them with the encouragement they need to persevere. Crane interjects a bit of verbal irony when he suggests of this camaraderie that the correspondent “knew even at the time was the best experience of his life” (Crane

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