This is a short essay entitled Stephen Crane's Open Boat. This essay is a brief look into the underlying themes of Stephen Crane's story.

Essay by Demon_LordUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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Stephen Crane's Open Boat is an excellent example of realism. The dominant theme of the story seems to tell of the struggle between man and nature. In the final paragraphs of the story, Crane calls the three remaining survivors "interpreters." These survivors had come to understand the "voice" of the ocean that they had endured for so long and felt differently now, after their experience, about the ocean and nature as a whole. Crane's story progresses along a definite path that a reader can follow as he looks into the characters' views of nature. In the beginning of the story, the characters seem to feel that nature is out to get them--they see nature as the enemy. They ignore the sky, they describe the waves as "barbarously abrupt and tall," and they consider the seagulls to be evil omens. The repetition of the phrase regarding being "dragged away" from the "sacred cheese of life" shows the reader that the characters are struggling to find sense in the acts of nature.

As the story progresses, the characters begin to realize that nature is not evil, but rather is merely indifferent. At this point in the story, the correspondent notices "a high cold star on a winter's night." This represents the correspondent's realization that nature is permanent and would remain so despite the activities of men. Farther along in the story, the characters realize that nature can be just as benevolent as it can be evil. At one point, the men use the wind to sail. At another time, a wave flings the correspondent over the boat, keeping him from crashing into it. I believe that these men feel themselves to be "interpreters" of nature and the sea in that they had come to understand...