The Open Boat- by Stephen Crane


Study Questions:

  1. A reason for the Oiler being the only one named could be so that the readers become attached to him since giving him a name gives him a more relatable or humany aspect and so that when e dies it’s more of a downer or it’s sadder for the readers. Another reason could be that because the reader doesn’t know much about the Oiler, while they have a wider knowledge of the rest of the crew it lets them more something more about the mysterious character. The last reason, according to the internet, says that the writer, Stephen Crane, actually did go on a trip like this and that he actually did have a crew member called Billie who does, so he used his name as some kind of memorial for the Oiler.
  2. In the metaphorical sense of the story he dies because it “nature’s revenge” since the few managed to beat nature at first, so nature for them back. But thinking about how this is a true story Stephen Crane added the fact that a crew members really died in real life.
  3. Nature is seen as the struggle, conflicts of mankind
  4. The men are very prestigious and believe in fate, so they think that fate had decided that Billie should die in the trip
  5. They have a very close relation, that he story describes as having a sense of “brotherhood” because of how close they had gotten
  6. The colors black, gray and white at very repetitive and important to the story since they all have a different meaning: Black: is dark and mysterious and represents fear of death and the fear of what awaits for the crew and the darkness they are scared to face. Gray: is neutral and represents the bit knowing if the crew will survive or live. White: hopeful and happy, represent what the crew hope and want; peace
  7. The narrator intruded  the story on page 68 when the correspondent remembers a poem about a soldier. It it’s effective because it  foreshadows the oilers death and tells us a bit about the correspondent
  8. In a way it’s both; truthful because it’s very possible for people to die on sea, but ironic because it kind of shows nature’s revenge on the survival of the men, and it also shows fate and the theory of determinism and Darwin’s theory.
  9. In literature the number seven is very meaningful because it is said to represent wisdom. And it’s also the number of the seven seas and a seven sea God’s

Pathways to interpretation:

  1. The author (Stephen Crane) wrote the story based on his own journey
  2. In this story a lot of historical theories are used, such as the theory of the uncanny, Darmin’s survival of the fittest and the theory of determinism amongst other mythical or metaphorical uses.

Patterns in “The Open Boat”

  1. Uses and references of colors: the colors black, gray and white are used in “The open boat” a lot. Black represents the darkness and sinister of the sea, gray represents the stillness and the not knowing, and white represents hope and happiness
  2. References to nature: nature (the sea) is used as a metaphor for man’s struggle and hopelessness. The boat is man itself and land represents hope, and the end to the struggles of life. The sea can also represent fate and the survival  of the fittest
  3. The foreshadowing of the oilers death is shown in the poem about the soldier and also shown in the parts when he sleeps, since in literature sleep represents death
  4. References to dead sleep are shown on page 66 when the Oiler immediately goes to sleep. Sleep represents death
  5. At first it looks like they beat nature, but nature gets her revenge by killing the Oiler, so I’m a way they are spared by nature

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