Nature In The Open Boat

815 Words4 Pages
Stephen Crane wrote ”The Open Boat” as a fictitious illustration of the experience he and three other crew members suffered after their ship, the Commoder, capsized. The story centres around the numerous hours they spent on a dinghy lost at sea, and it forces the reader to examine existential questions. With a distant narrative voice, we as readers experience the tiresome and draining trial the four men undergo, that ultimately ends with only three survivors. Crane is distinguished in the realist field and this short story does not differ from that genre, but it is somewhat contradictory in the way the sea and nature is described (Wertheim 248). In this essay I will examine the narrative and the characters, mental and physical process, that…show more content…
The beginning provides an understanding of each characters’ role and purpose, on the dinghy. The captain, an injured man, is the encouraging and solid foundation, functioning very much as the role of a stereotypical captain, cheering them on through the struggle. The overweight cook empties the stream of water constantly splashing into the boat. The prominent workload is put on the two oarsmen; the correspondent and the oiler Billie. Repetitive sentences such as these: “And the oiler rowed, and then the correspondent rowed. Then the oiler rowed” displays the tediousness of their task. The dinghy functions as a unit, combining the strength of each man. Although it could be argued that the cook does not provide a specific purpose as his job could be performed even by the injured captain. It is in these first impressions that there is a hasty assumption on who would die if anyone would not survive the journey. The rational conclusion would conclude, either the captain or the cook in comparison to the men strong enough to row. Billie is the only character referred to by name in the text through dialog, foreshadowing his eminent death. Billie’s death heightens the absurdity of the situation, the struggle they endure is irrelevant and not taken into consideration by “Fate”(Mays 1040)
Open Document