The Open Boat and Other Stories

The Open Boat and Other Stories

by Stephen Crane


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None of them knew the color of the sky. Their eyes glanced level, and were fastened upon the waves that swept toward them. These waves were of the hue of slate, save for the tops, which were of foaming white, and all of the men knew the colors of the sea. The horizon narrowed and widened, and dipped and rose, and at all times its edge was jagged with waves that seemed thrust up in points like rocks.

"The Open Boat" is divided into seven sections, each told mainly from the point of view of the correspondent, based upon Crane himself. The first part introduces the four characters—the correspondent, a condescending observer detached from the rest of the group; the captain, who is injured and morose at having lost his ship, yet capable of leadership; the cook, fat and comical, but optimistic that they will be rescued; and the oiler, Billie, who is physically the strongest, and the only one in the story referred to by name. The four are survivors of a shipwreck, which occurred before the beginning of the story, and are drifting at sea in a small dinghy.

In the following four sections, the moods of the men fluctuate from anger at their desperate situation, to a growing empathy for one another and the sudden realization that nature is indifferent to their fates. The men become fatigued and bicker with one another; nevertheless, the oiler and the correspondent take turns rowing toward shore, while the cook bails water to keep the boat afloat. When they see a lighthouse on the horizon, their hope is tempered with the realization of the danger of trying to reach it. Their hopes dwindle further when, after seeing a man waving from shore, and what may or may not be another boat, they fail to make contact. The correspondent and the oiler continue to take turns rowing, while the others sleep fitfully during the night. The correspondent then notices a shark swimming near the boat, but he does not seem to be bothered by it as one would expect. In the penultimate chapter, the correspondent wearily recalls a verse from the poem "Bingen on the Rhine" by Caroline Norton, in which a "soldier of the Legion" dies far from home.

The final chapter begins with the men's resolution to abandon the floundering dinghy they have occupied for thirty hours and to swim ashore. As they begin the long swim to the beach, Billie the oiler, the strongest of the four, swims ahead of the others; the captain advances towards the shore while still holding onto the boat, and the cook uses a surviving oar. The correspondent is trapped by a local current, but is eventually able to swim on. After three of the men safely reach the shore and are met by a group of rescuers, they find Billie dead, his body washed up on the beach.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789353833671
Publisher: Throne Classics
Publication date: 08/15/2019
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was an American novelist, poet, and journalist. He worked as a reporter of slum life in New York and a highly paid war correspondent for newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. He wrote many works of fiction, poems, and accounts of war, all well received but none as acclaimed as his 1895 Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage. Today he is considered one of the most innovative American writers of the 1890s and one of the founders of literary realism.

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The Open Boat, and other stories. 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
gmillar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These stories were much better than I expected. What a pity that literature lost Stephen Crane at such a young age. I'm sure we would have got some classic stuff from him had he lived longer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost like a real e-book. Worth the freeness
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Stephen Crane, in my opinion, has to be one of the best writers that America has ever given to us. His insight in the relationship between man and the universe is almost unsurpassed by any other writer. And this book, which only costs a dollar, is well worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is a reason why 'classics' are called 'classics.' Although Crane's style can be slow, it is always worth the journey. It might not be for the younger taste, but give it time, and you will find someone you know in each of those poor characters. Crane is a master of description. Defnitely worth the read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The thing I have found most fascinating about the writer Stephen Crane is that he can do more in one sentence than most writers can do in a whole paragraph, and no where is that gift displayed more brilliantly than in the dazzling short story 'The Open Boat', thought by some to be the greatest short story ever written. This is a story about Mankind's place in the universe, and there is no more lofty or important or interesting theme to write about. I defy you. I challenge you. Come up with a more interesting theme for a story. You can't do it. It's not in you. Nor is it in me. But it was in Stephen Crane to write this story, and write it he did, with a subtle brilliance that makes the 'G' word come bursting loudly out of the reader's mouth. (That word is 'genius', to spell it out, though it has almost become a swear word in this day and age.) This is a story that can be read many times over, year after year, and grow in the reader's mind in significance and wonder as he/she grows older. Immature minds will be baffled by it. It is not for kids. But if you've moved beyond the stage of being a mere kid (regardless of your age), then by all means delve deeply into the fascinating world of the writer Stephen Crane, as he takes you on a mind-opening ride in 'The Open Boat'. P.S. It is highly recommended that you select an edition with an introduction, as it will greatly facillitate your understanding and exploration of this great work of art.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt disappointed after reading this, Crane is not all that he is hyped up to be. The story had no significant value for reading. It's a waste of time. Don't put yourself through the pain and againy.