The Open Boat is a particularly interesting story because of the great detail that author extends and because of the solitary reflections of the characters in consideration of their demise.The story possesses amazingly vivid description. This attention to detail affords the reader the greatest degree of reading pleasure. Crane paints such glorious images in reader’s mind with his eloquence.
“The morning appeared finally, in its splendor, with a sky of pure blue, and the sunlight flamed on the tips of waves”(387). Artistic sentences of such caliber are not often found. The reader is left with a terrific vision of the perilous sea maintaining its beauty amongst the violence of the wind. “Their back- bones had become thoroughly used to balancing in the boat and they now rode this wild colt of a dinghy like circus men”(378). Here, again, Crane uses splendid detail to capture the essence of the chaotic situation.
Another attribute to the story is the insight which the third person narrator offers to the reader regarding the sailors’ state of mind. Particularly interesting, is the reference to the poem “Bingen on the Rhine”. Until the correspondent must contemplate his own death on the cold and desolate seas, he does not realize the tragedy of a soldier of the legion dying in Algiers. Also, not only did he not realize the significance, he says that, “it was less to him than the breaking of a pencil’s point”(385). Again, towards the end of the story, the narrator describes the bitterness the correspondent feels towards nature when he realizes that after all his efforts he may not live to appreciate his being.
Observations such as these are not encountered frequently until confronted with death and the conveyance of these thoughts is insightful and meaningful to the reader.The only depreciative factor in the story is the length. The men’s state of affairs carried too long. For superfluous periods of time the story is reported without any change of events. The narrator continually describes the men’s conditions without any great fluctuations.
The situation neither improves nor deteriorates; it just exists. However, while uneventful, the reading is still entertaining because of Crane’s splendid style. The reader feels a peculiar intimacy with the stranded men and shares their desperation.Copyrighted to http://www.uic.edu/depts/engl/projects/dissertations/kdorwick/engl214/Bruce/boat.html