Shawn P. McCauley
March 3, 2013
Man believes himself to be the center of the universe, but the universe does not. “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane shows the complexities of life in a single story; the conflict of man against nature, the realization that the universe is not aware of your existence and the irony that sometimes your best just isn’t good enough or the very randomness of the outcomes make it all so unpredictable. There are no answers in life, there is just life.
The conflict is for the control of their destiny and for survival against the waves. There is a high level of suspense throughout the story. The waves are relentless and the men are exhausted. Each time it seems as if help is imminent, it is dashed. Hope begins to fade. The men begin to grow angry with the situation. The correspondent repeats this tirade three different times, “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 contemplate sand and trees? (Crane 262) He is looking for some guarantee of survival, but it is not there. The use of allusion by remembering a passage that never meant anything until his mortality was on the line shows the state of mind of the correspondent. The correspondent began to lose hope and came to the realization that help was not coming and that they would soon perish. He remembers a passage from a book he had read long ago but with remembrance come total clarity of its meaning. The passage from “Bingen on the Rhine,” by Caroline Norton was as follows; A soldier from the Legion lay dying in Algiers; There was lack of women’s nursing, there was dearth of women’s tears; But a comrade stood beside him, and he took the comrade’s hand, And he said, “I never more shall see my own, my native land.”(Crane 263) The Legion soldier of Algiers dying never to see his homeland again comes to his mind with complete understanding...
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