Essay on Literary Criticism of "The Open Boat"

1119 Words Feb 7th, 2012 5 Pages
The Open Boat by Stephen Crane is a story describing four men that are trapped together in a small boat or dingy. The men aboard the boat are a captain, a correspondent, an oiler, and a cook. The men were aboard a larger boat that crashed off the coast of Florida and are now searching for the safety of a light house they remember. After making a homemade sail and some brisk paddling they finally get near the coast. They spot some people and begin to signal for help but the people only respond with friendly waves. The tide is much too strong to swim to shore so they paddle back out to sea a ways and wait for it to calm. While waiting they get approached by a shark. The large fish circles in such a way that death searches for the …show more content…
At the beginning of chapter six the correspondent asks, “If I am going to be drowned-if I am going to be drowned-if I am going to be drowned , why in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea, was I allowed to come thus far and contemplate sand and trees?” Here the correspondent is wondering why he would drown in the dingy if the was able to survive the crash of the ship. This shows the correspondent’s reasoning and questions of nature. He seems to understand fate and nature. He knows that they do not operate according to social status or any other human ranking but instead are impartial in their discipline of the world.
The captain represents the leaders that exist in society. He never abandons his responsibilities he has had entrusted in him for safety of the men aboard his vessel. The captain is described as being injured during the crash of his ship. This physical injury stands as a representation of the mental/emotional loss he has suffered. He mentally is set back by the loss of his ship which served as his source of authority. Yet, the captain continues to help the other men get to safety. He puts the other men on the boat such as when the correspondent states, “He dragged ashore the cook, and then waded toward the captain, but the captain

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