What Really Happened the Night the Commodore Sank?
In, “The Open Boat” and “Stephen Crane’s Own Story” by Stephen Crane, the switching from third person narrative to first person narrative, and the use of heavy imagery to paint vivid pictures in the reader’s mind, changes the reader’s understanding and meaning of what truly happened the night the Commodore sank. In “The Open Boat,” Stephen Crane uses a third person view to depict the struggles faced by all four men on the dingy in the open water after the crash. This story uses heavy imagery and gives insight to all of the character’s thoughts and feelings throughout the story. In “Stephen Crane’s Own Story,” he uses a first person view to depict the story from before the ship crashed, and the journey of the escape he and his fellow crew mates endured through his eyes. The changing points of view and use of vivid imagery in “The Open Boat” help the reader gain a better connection to the thoughts and struggles of all the characters in the boat, while portraying the deathly struggles they faced in the open ocean. In “The Open Boat,” Crane gives the reader no insight into prior interactions with the characters, but only the experience of the men trying to find safety at the present moment. The constant wondering of a possible rescue is a thought shared by all passengers on the dingy, and all are shown to have a similar understanding of the life or death situation they are in. “Many a man ought to have a bath-tub larger than the boat which here rode upon the sea. These waves were most wrongfully and barbarously abrupt and tall, and each froth-top was a problem in small boat navigation,” (pg. 1). This quote creates very powerful imagery of the men struggling to stay afloat in their small dingy, which Crane compares to the size of a small bathtub. The image of four men packed into this very small space attempting to conquer the absurdly large waves, which were shown to be aggressive and...
Cited: 1. Crane, Stephen. The Open Boat. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 1982. Print.
2. Crane, Stephen. Stephen Crane 's Own Story. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1969. Print.
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