The Role Of Naturalism In Stephen Crane's The Open Boat

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The late 19th century in the United States was a time for reflection and rebuilding after the major changes taking place due to post civil war and the industrial push taking place. This reflection and rebuilding is shown through the written works of that period. During this time, early to late 19th century, the literary movement Naturalism was taking place. It’s important to note that it is related to realism, but was a reaction to romanticism, the literary movement prior to it. “The Open Boat”, by Stephen Crane, is a naturalist short story written during the late 19th century that focuses on the wrongness of putting social hierarchy over group survival when put into a dire situation caused by nature. The plot of “The Open Boat” is structured to show the thought development of the…show more content…
As the steamboat sinks readers are given insight into the four surviving members’ initial thoughts and emotions about the circumstances they are in. The correspondent in the story is heavily modeled after Stephen Crane himself as Stephen Crane wrote this story based off his real life experience of being shipwrecked and lost to sea for over thirty hours. This is important to note as the story is narrated by the correspondent. Following the shipwreck, the narrator states “These waves were gray, except for the tops, which were white, and all the men knew the colors of the sea. The line between sky and water narrowed and widened, and fell and rose. A man likes to take a bath in a bigger area than this boat could provide.”(1) The narrator's’ thoughts on how the boat is much to small for the four men and the rough sea furthers the extremities of their situation as now, not only do they not have a functioning steamboat with all of its amenities and crew, but now they are too many for the little boat in the sea. The oiler and the correspondent rowed the boat as the cook worked to shovel water overboard to prevent capsizing; meanwhile, the
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