Violence of Men and Nature in the Open Boat

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The Violence of Man and Nature

In Stephen Crane's The Open Boat and The Blue Hotel, violence is presented to the reader as one of several themes. The theme of violence stands out because it is prominent throughout these two works. The main focus of the nature of the violence seen in The Open Boat deals with the threat nature poses to humankind. Sprinkled among the episodes of natural violence, the reader is exposed to brief periods when the crew itself breaks out into violence. In The Blue Hotel we see the human aspect of violence; the way in which humans deal with each other. In The Open Boat, nature is seen as the root cause of the crews' troubles. While the violence may not be intentional, it cannot be avoided. Our first encounter with this violence happens in the first paragraph. The crew is struggling against the sea trying to make it to shore. The waves met by the crew are described by Crane as being slate colored, foaming white, and with jagged edges thrust up like rocks. This description brings to mind images of a barrier blocking their escape. The sea around them becomes their biggest enemy. They have no control over what is happening, the sea is too powerful. Being a passenger in the boat is likened to being a rider on a bucking bronco, a violent creature in it's own right. The boat rises and plunges like an animal over the white crested waves. With each wave that is conquered, another comes quickly behind it. Each wave seems to swallow the boat whole, but the crew fights back, and their plight continues. The situation the crew faces eventually takes it toll on them. This not only becomes clear through their actions and their thoughts, but also through the descriptive words Crane uses. The crew begins to break out in petty arguments At one point in the story it appears that the crew may be saved. On the shoreline they see a man waving a piece of cloth at them. The crew thinks and hopes that he is signaling them that he will

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