The Open Boat

1583 Words7 Pages
The Open Boat By Stephan Crane “Although autobiographical in nature, “The Open Boat” is a fiction; it is often considered a principal example of Naturalism, an offshoot of the Realist literary movement, in which scientific principles of objectivity and detachment are applied to the study of human characteristics”. A close look at the story reveals subtle Naturalistic elements floating within the lines. Crane has set up his story in a Naturalistic attitude so masterfully that denying the fact demands insanity. Such Naturalistic elements are so varied in the story that mentioning all requires hundreds of pages and a great ……… of time. But to raise a few, the followings are worth mentioning: 1) Natural forcessuch as the sea, the waves, the wind, etc. 2) Ugly side of life 3) Fate (Determinism) 4) Degeneration of man 5) Objective point of view: Third-person limited Natural forces “Naturalism is an approach insisting on the analysis of reality in terms of natural forces…” (Literary Schools, p.124).“Naturalists try to show that people are trapped by great forces surrounding them [natural forces] over which they have no control” (Literary Schools, p.125). According to Naturalism, man is perpetually struggling with such forces during his life without being able to control or even halter them. Struggling with nature can be evidently traced in the story from the very first lines when describing the waves as wrongful and barbarous versus a small fragile boat. Later, the narrator mentions one of the disadvantages of the sea to have endless nervous waves threatening the boat every now and then. The water thrusting in the boat all the time, the freezing wind and the physical and mental fatigue of the four men caused by sleeplessness, rowing, bailing and injury and still hope of survival, all show the struggle of the four waifs against the cruel nature to survive.
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