The Open Boat Essay

2322 Words10 Pages
ENGL 1302 9 May 2011 The Open Boat; Perception Over Naturalism Stephen Crane authored the short story The Open Boat which fell into the abstract category of naturalism and rather neatly joined him to great writers like Jack London and Ernest Hemingway. Naturalism, labeled by the French writer and theorist Emile Zola, was a literary movement that flourished between 1865 and 1900 (Zhang 195). According to Emile, this writing style essentially consisted of four main attributes: determinism, objectivism, pessimism and an unexpected twist in the end (Zhang 195-6). Crane scored a hit on all of these characteristics driving home the survival story of four men in a bathtub sized boat struggling with the elements of nature off the coast of Florida (to grossly simplify the plot). But naturalism with all of its components wasn't specifically reality. There was something else out there, a stronger influence on reality called the power of perception. Perception provided images that were more energetic than the inevitable seas of determinism. It brought reality closer than the objectiveness of the narrator and it produced negativity darker than the most pessimistic connotations. Perception was a form of reality that had been jabbing the plot long before that final twist. In the next few pages I will establish this dominant source of reality within Crane's story. Let us begin with a somewhat complex question heard now and then that seems to pique people's opinion rather quickly. Is perception reality? Think about what it means to be a fish in an aquarium, a homeless person or a newly wedded princess. Visual perception is like noticing an individual with a disheveled appearance. The mere appearance might lead us to believe or perceive that the person is disorganized and unkempt within all aspects of their life. On the other hand, Naturalism was designed to overturn common

More about The Open Boat Essay

Open Document