Naturalism In The Open Boat Essay

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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…show more content…
Battling the open waters in a ten-foot dinghy signifies the significant difference in power between man and nature. The unyielding impact of wave after wave leaves the men no choice, but to give in to the power of nature. The men exert control over the boat by rowing; however, nature exerts greater power over the boat. “Tide, wind, and waves were swinging the dinghy northward” (Crane 720). Even the title of the story, “The Open Boat,” suggests that they are left in the open, vulnerable to nature. Crane’s introduction of the canton flannel gulls mocks the men and their struggle at sea. “The birds sat comfortably in groups, and they were envied by some in the dinghy, for the wrath of the sea was no more to them than it was to a covey of prairie chickens a thousand miles inland” (Crane 716). The men are not even able to shoo the birds away because the movement could capsize the dinghy so again they are unable to control nature or their place in
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