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Reading Questions for Stephen Crane's
"The Open Boat"
naturalism, realism, situational irony
real event provided Crane with the idea/basis for his
story? What was Crane's attitude toward finding meaning
in life? Explain how the concept of environmental determinism
fits into the philosophy of naturalism.
Lecture or Handouts:
Identify the following characters and
images: the cook, Billie the oiler, the correspondent,
the injured captain
- What colors appear in the opening passage of the story?
What might these colors symbolize for a naturalist?
Passages for Identification: Be able to explain who wrote
this passages, what work they come from, and briefly explain
their significance, context, or importance in the work.
A. None of them knew the colour of the sky. Their eyes
glanced level, and were fastened upon the waves that swept
toward them. These waves were teh hue of slate, save for
the tops, which were of foaming white, and all of the men
knew the colours of the sea.
B. A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact
that after successfully surmounting one wave you discover
that there is another behind it just as important and just
as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way
of swamping boats. . . . As each slaty wall of water approached,
it shut all else from the view of the men in teh boat,
and it was not difficult to imagine that this particular
wave was the final outburst of the ocean, the last effort
of the grim water. There was a terrible grace int eh move
of the waves, and they came ini silence, save for the snarling
of the crests.
C. THe birds sat comfortably in groups, and they were
envied by some in the dinghy, for the wrath of the sea
was no more to them than it was to a covey of prairie chickens
a thousand miles inland. Often they came very close and
stared at the men with black bead-like eyes. At these times
they were uncanny and sinister in their unblinking scrutiny,
and the men hooted angrily at them to be gone.