The Open Boat Essay

942 Words Mar 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
In Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat”, Crane demonstrates his idea that man cannot even attempt to best nature by the isolation and trials of the men in nature, the hardships that even the best of men face, and the lack of understanding of nature while isolated in the sea. Stephen Crane starts off the story by leaving the men in isolation from the world, a test, which they fail, if they could best nature without help except for their abilities as humans not connected to nature. The men, from the beginning of the journey feel despair. Even though they rowed for so long all the men discovered “that after successfully surmounting one wave you discover that there is another behind it” (Crane 604). The men knew from the beginning of the journey …show more content…
First of all the men faced the hardship that they could not even protect themselves from the both the sea and the sun while out in the boat. Often they “glinted in strange ways” (604) and their eyes “must have been gray” (604) because of staying out in the sun all day. The men had no protection from nature, they could not stop the sun from penetrating their skin, symbolizing that nature can overpower man’s forces. Second, not only were all of the men stranded on the boat, but a captain, a man of great strength and character, was injured. Although the captain could have been a great help to the other men in reaching safety, he was “lying in the bow” (604) and could only “command for a day” (604). Symbolically, the captain, not connected to nature, was useless, just as man is useless without his connection to nature. Lastly, nature showed no kindness to the men, killing the most honorable of them all. Of all the men that died, the oiler who “plied the oars until his head drooped forward, and the overpowering sleep blinded him” (613), may have been the greatest of them all. He tried his hardest to keep the men together and bring them to safety, but “in the shallows, faced downward, lay the oiler” (619). Thus, Crane uses’ the hardships of fighting against nature to exhibit his outlook that man can never overcome the power of nature. In addition to using the men’s hardships in nature to prove that nature is greater

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