Human vs. Nature in Crane’s “The Open Boat” Story
Dramatic Story “The Open Boat” carries many philosophical ideas. The story is based on the author’s personal experience during his life. During the story, sailors have been wrecked and tried to escape on the high seas, after which not all of them survived. During the story, the characters go through many misadventures, someone suffers more from the loss of the ship, someone from the despair of the situation when they cannot get ashore, but each of them goes through suffering and rejection of the situation. At the same time, the characters in the work have a common goal to survive, which allows them to go through many losses.
The forces of nature are much more powerful and influential in comparison with the forces of a man. One of the philosophical thoughts of the work is that even the most powerful people can be influenced by chance and uncontrollable forces, and that not everything depends on the people themselves.
The author uses many illustrative elements, such as a raging sea to make the situation desperate. The white crests of the waves as white omens, and the sound of the waves as the voice of the sea are also used (Crane 2). During “The Open Boat” story, the characters in the narrative go through different stages. At the beginning, their ship is wrecked, they drift on the boat for some time, and then they find themselves near the “bits of earth” (Crane 7).
They see a lighthouse burning in the distance, and realize that they are not far from the ground. Later, people on land begin to see the drifting boat. Throughout the story, it is demonstrated that not all situations are subject to people, since there is a third force such as the sea in this case.
The sea destroys the ship of the characters, does not allow them to land on the boat, even being nearby, and one of them drowns in it. None of the characters made fatal mistakes while on a ship or boat, and the one that drowned was the most physically prepared of all. This shows that the outcome of events is influenced not only by people themselves, but also by outside forces that cannot be predicted or controlled “later a wave perhaps whirled him out of this small deadly current” (Crane 34). There is fate, chance, coincidence, or some other similar explanation that cannot be influenced in contradiction to the popular statements of self-choice.
There are such popular statements as that people themselves influence the outcome of events, and everything that happens to them is only the consequences of their own actions. However, this story demonstrates the opposite, that there is something that cannot be foreseen, assumed, predicted, or influenced. People with a lifeboat have a hope of salvation, they think that people on land and who spotted them will send a ship after them, which will take them from the raging sea with high waves and take them to safe territory (Crane 16). However, time passes, but the ship never arrives. Having lost hope that a ship was sent after them, the sailors are forced to go further out to sea again.
People sometimes become hostages to a situation, the outcome of which does not depend on them. Sailors on the boat go further out to sea because the waves near the land are too strong. All who are in the boat are united by a common goal, and this is the only thing that helps them maintain their faith in salvation. However, each of them is periodically covered with despair from the hopelessness of the situation, and from the fact that even being close to the earth and people, they were not saved. As a result, the boat is destroyed by the sea, and not all of the four characters make it to the shore alive (Crane 35).
In all this story, it would seem that injustice reigns, but at the same time, the story elevates the strength of external forces. “The welcome of the land to the men from the sea was warm and generous, but a still and dripping shape was carried slowly up the beach, and the land’s welcome for it could only be the different and sinister hospitality of the grave” (Crane 36). Fate, the sea and other forces perform the roles as if they were the participants in the story, who choose how the storyline will develop. When three of the characters make it to the saving land alive, they realize that the sea has taken the strongest of them, the oiler, who had one of the greatest chances of being saved (Crane 36). None of the characters could influence such a development of events.
Even a strong person, when faced with the sea, turns out to be weak. People do not fulfill the role of the most powerful creatures on the planet, they only live their own lives, while the forces of nature live in parallel with them. The author reveals this idea through showing all the power of nature, which torments several sailors for a long time, and later allows not all of them to be saved.
The sea in the work shows its character by taking the strongest of the sailors. Whether this is a coincidence, a coincidence, it is impossible to tell on the basis of a dramatic story. However, one thing is clear, all sailors, faced with the threat of waves, stones, cold, and other climatic and natural features, were all equal in their chances. Since the story is based on real events, the author himself probably wondered what are things in the world that do not depend on people. He ends the story by raising this thought, since the sailors at the end, looking at the waves and listening to the “great sea’s voice”, reflect on the death of their comrade (Crane 36). The story is both dramatic and filled with deep meaning, which the reader feels when he starts reading, but realizes only closer to the end. Moreover, the topics that are raised in the book can be interpreted in various ways by different readers.
Natural disasters from the forces of nature are not subject to man and can cause enormous damage to people. These are natural phenomena that cause extreme situations and disrupt the normal life of people. The sailors fell into the forces of nature and were wrecked. Finding themselves one-on-one with the forces of nature, they are all on an equal footing, and the decision about their life and death does not depend on them. “A large wave caught him and flung him with ease and supreme speed completely over the boat and far beyond it”, the outcome of events depends on the sea, which seems to choose who lives and who dies (Crane 34). Physical abilities, whether a person is a good or bad person, the desire to live and many other criteria do not play a role.
Physical and mental strength means a lot in everyday life. It allows people to achieve certain heights, their goals, build a career, improve physical fitness, and even, in some cases, build relationships. However, colliding with the forces of nature, as can be seen in the story, people are completely helpless in front of this power. Even when people subjugate many things and processes on planet Earth, such forces as the sea still remain outside of complete control.
The fact that at the very end of the story the characters think about the death of a comrade who was taken by the sea clearly emphasizes the storyline of the work. The theme of the fact that the world is not always fair and people cannot predict the outcome of events prevails throughout the entire “The Open Boat”. “The welcome of the land to the men from the sea was warm and generous, but a still and dripping shape was carried slowly up the beach, and the land’s welcome for it could only be the different and sinister hospitality of the grave” (Crane 35). It is difficult to give an unambiguous assessment of the reaction of the characters in the drama to the death of the fourth of them. Sea waves and pitfalls could take anyone, but it was he who died. One thing is clear, none of the characters had a direct influence on the outcome of the situation and whether they survived or not, they were all equal. Give specific lines and events
In conclusion, the dramatic story “The Open Boat” is very emotionally powerful. Throughout the story, the characters go through various misadventures, having suffered a wreck of their ship at the beginning, after which four of them survived, but by the end of the story there are only three left. One of the thoughts that can be emphasized from the story is that being in the circumstances of force majeure, even in the twenty-first century, people have no direct influence on the outcome and become dependent on the forces of nature. Physical fitness of a person is incomparable with the powerful forces of nature.
Crane, Stephen. The Open Boat. e-artnow, 2017.