Professor Sarvay Short Story
Response Paper 3: Open Boat By: Stephen Crane Setting plays a big role in stories, suggesting the mood and also the time and place of the story. Writers must create a picture with their words to establish visuals for their readers. To further help understand the purpose of setting we have the short story, “Open Boat”, by Stephen Crane. The story follows four men and their experience on the sunk steamer Commodore. Though any story can show you how setting plays a big role in works, Open Boat’s setting is out on sea which is a setting with an abundant amount of detail, including the sound of the water or wind, the color of the water, the sea life, the anger of the waves, etc. For this reason, “Open Boat”, provides great examples that are clear and easily show the importance of setting in writing. Open Boat is a true story of Stephen Crane as he and his comrades try to make the best of being stranded out in the ocean after the sinking of their ship the Commodore. The story is full of senses ranging from the deep freeze of the water to the deep pain in the muscles from rowing in a storm. More importantly Stephen Crane gives his readers the feeling of being in the vigorous storm, opening his story with, “None of them knew the color of the sky. Their eyes glanced level, and were fastened upon the waves that swept toward them. These waves were of the hue of slate, save for the tops, which were foaming white, and all of the men knew the colors of the sea. The horizon narrowed and widened, and dipped and rose, and at all times its edge jagged with waves that seemed thrust up in points like rocks.” (Crane, 271).
Crane awakens his reader’s visual imagination by establishing the setting, giving us the visual of a dark cloudy sky with waves that foamed white from its furious clashing and that almost stabbed the sky with its jagged edges. Essentially, “The writer attempts to