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The Open Boat Essay

1669 words - 7 pages

Thank Mother Nature Sometimes, humanity tends to see itself as being important in the grand scheme of the universe. However, humanity seldom takes into account that Mother Nature can turn man?s life around in the blink of an eye. No matter how hard man tries to get away from Mother Nature, he will never succeed. Mother Nature has always been around and will always be here. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how nature can control man in Stephen Crane?s short story ?The Open Boat.? This story is about four men that are known simply as the captain, the oiler, the correspondent, and the cook. These four men are on a boat called the Commodore with some other people. The first line of the ...view middle of the document...

Nature has forced the men onto a small boat that Crane says, ?Many a man ought to have a bathtub larger than the boat which here rode upon the sea? (Crane 453). This statement made by Crane will give the reader a good example of how small the boat that nature has let the men board is.These four men are completely at the mercy of nature now. They are stranded in the middle of the ocean, in an extremely small boat, have no food or water, and have no way of calling for help. Nature could kill all four men during any given minute.The men float along in the lifeboat for several days. Each of them except for the caption, who was injured during the Commodore?s sinking, have to constantly be working to keep the boat afloat and moving. The oiler and the correspondent take turns doing the rowing, and the cook is siphoning water out of the boat. Nature is making them work to stay alive. They know that if they want to live, they all have to do their jobs in order to keep the boat moving. If the boat sinks, nature is not going to save them from the waters of the sea. Crane explains this idea when he says: ?A man once said to the universe: ?Sir, I exist!? ?However,? replied the universe, ?The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation?? (Crane 20). This statement will explain just how little nature care?s about saving a man?s life. Christopher Benfey says something that supports this statement made by Crane. Benfey says that ?The Open Boat? proves that no one person, or group, can out smart or out think nature. Nature does not, and will not play favorites (Benfey 34).The four men keep going on in the boat while nature continues to play tricks on them. One day while they are floating, the captain states that he sees land in the far distance. Eventually they get close enough to find out that it is indeed land and rejoice. The cook explains that he had been there before and that the people on the island will send out a boat to rescue them. Nature has played its first trick on the men. They correspondent does not think a boat will come rescue them and he gets involved in an argument with the cook. The men drift along the outside of the island for a whole day waiting on a rescue boat, but it never comes. This trick played by nature confuses the cook and makes him think he has been to this island before. This causes the men to be in the rough conditions for a full day longer that they had to be. Now the men are even more fatigued and have gone another day without food or water. Nature plays another trick on them by a waving man on the beach. The captain sees a man on the beach waving his shirt at them and spends time trying to figure out what the man on the beach is doing other than trying to get to shore. This is more time that the men are wasting on pointless things.Nature does not completely control the men on the lifeboat though. Nature can not control the men?s decisions. The men are free to do whatever they want to, but nature can interfere with the...

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