Brittany Jade Reyes
English 5 H
28 January 2008
Crane, Stephen. “The Open Boat.” Great American Short Stories.
Wallace and Mary Stegner. New York: Dell Publishing, 1985.
Stephen Crane presents the setting of this short story with the sea as a character alongside the captain, the oiler, the cook, and the correspondent. Being a naturalist, he believes that nature does not care if we have our problems, it will still do whatever it is destined to do. If one needed to take a flight home and it starts snowing, it will not stop snowing just because we need it to. Crane sows that nature has its own presence and will in life. He gives the waves of the ocean personality as it “approached, it shut all else from the view of the men in the boat.” (259) The setting influences the plot and the characters as it changes alongside the events in the story. These four men of the “Commodore” who had no idea what kind of situation they were in had struggles with the waves of the sea. The theme man vs. nature is portrayed throughout the story being that the storm and monstrous waves that these men witness challenges the mens’ will to go on. They eventually understand that whatever is meant to happen to them at sea, will happen. The oiler feels that “Fate cannot do better than this, she should be deprived of the management of men’s fortunes. She is an old hen who knows not her intention. If she has decided to drown me, why did she not do it in the beginning and save me all this trouble?”(268) They are willing to go against nature, yet they understand that the sea is stronger than them and will be victorious in the end. Once they were on land, even with the dead oiler, the setting and mood of the story changed to feeling safe, relieved, and finally secure. The waves seemed defeated when they “paced to and fro in the moonlight, and the wind brought the sounds of the great sea’s voice to the men on shore.”(286) Three of the men had...