Symbolism In The Open Boat

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“The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane features a small dinghy holding four men are stranded at sea, fighting off the ocean’s treacherous obstacles near the coast of Florida. In the midst of chaos and fear, the men soon realize that they are unable to reach safety, which results in the belief Nature is defying them. In this story, several themes may be perceived, including these: mankind versus Nature, forming brotherhood in time of helplessness, and humankind’s meaninglessness to the universe and its irrelevance to fate and Nature, which are demonstrated through symbolism, a commonly used device that provides a deeper meaning to objects or ideas past a literal sense. While there are several possible themes in “The Open Boat”, the most prominent theme is humankind’s irrelevance in the eyes of fate and nature, which is exhibited with symbolism by several means, including the boat that signifies life, the waves that signify an uncaring Nature and fate, and the repetitive poem that signifies Nature and fate are taunting and merciless.
Dodging Mother Nature’s malevolently behaved elements during efforts to reach land, the boat is represented as the symbol of life in the piece. The story reads, “The boat was much like an animal. As each wave came, and she rose for it, she seemed like a horse leaping over a high fence. The manner of her ride over these walls of water is a thing of mystery.” This description gives the boat an animalistic “character” (Crane 2). This quote from the story
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