Essay On The Open Boat

Words: 1086
Pages: 5

Critical Interpretation of “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane
In Stephen Cranes’ “The Open Boat”, four men are left navigating the sea after their ship sinks off of the coast of Florida. The story details their efforts to reach landfall through a troubling sea and their own mental hardships. Through analysis of the characters and of literary elements, the evidence of a relationship between man and nature will be interpreted, and how their place in the universe is miniscule and how the men must learn to love themselves.
The Captain
The captain is a proud man whom has just suffered a captain’s greatest tragedy, the loss of his ship. Though he has lost his ship, he continues his duties as the chief officer of the dinghy and as a mentor to his mates. He remains steadfast in ensuring that his crew reaches shore by staying positive throughout the entire ordeal. He is both a great man, for pushing onward and committing to the safety of his crew, but he is also a failed man through the anguish of the sinking of his vessel.
The Oiler
The oiler becomes the glue that holds the crew together. He
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The men struggled with the reality that they were fatefully handed, and throughout the story their pleas with the sky and sea seemed to fall on deaf ears. “If I am going to lose my life to the sea – if I am going to lose my life to the sea – why was I allowed to come this far and see sand and trees? Was I brought here merely to have my nose dragged away as I was about to taste the holy food of life (Crane, 1898)”? That quote symbolizes the crew’s entire existence as they fight to survive while grasping to understand their fate, wondering why God has been so cruel as to bring them to the cusp of survival, only to have hope dashed before their very eyes. The death of the oiler showed that despite the effort that is given, humans are still subject to the uncontrollable forces of