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Stephen Crane's The Open Boat

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Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” and how individual struggles do not matter when fighting nature. “The Open Boat” is a short story written by the American author Stephen Crane first published in 1897. The story is based on Crane’s own experience of surviving a shipwreck while working as a correspondent, its main themes are: nature and men’s role in nature, feeling insignificant, death and hope and friendship. The story follows four characters who suffer a shipwreck together and try to make it to the shore in order to survive. The four vastly different characters form a sense of comradery during their struggle against nature and death, however neither the difference between them, nor the comradery between them have influence on whether they…show more content…
All characters come to a similar insight about nature at first they see nature as an enemy, as a something that is for some inherently wrong reason intent on haunting and hurting them, as can be derived from the first page where the waves are described as ‘ wrongfully and barbarously abrupt’. By describing the waves as wrongful and barbarous the characters indicate that they see the waves as a sentient being, which is actively trying to harm them with malicious intent for no good reason. However, later in the story they all come to the realization that nature just is, and is not in fact actively trying to kill them. The sea itself does not change, but the perception of the characters do. In the story the narrator describes the sea as snarling and violent , however at the end the waves just pace and fro, while not being any less violent. Hope and friendship is something that all characters do experience, the narrator gives a description of the budding sense of friendship between the characters. Hope is a prominent idea present in the story, since hope is essentially all the characters have while they are stuck at sea and is something that binds the characters together. However, disappointment is also present and is linked to hope. An example which illustrates this is the scene where the men find a lighthouse and are
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