The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure

The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure

by Stephen Crane
     
 

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The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure (1898) contains thirteen short stories that deal with three periods in Crane's life: his Asbury Park boyhood, his trip to the West and Mexico in 1895 and his Cuban adventure in 1897. This collection was well received and included several of his most critically successful works. This collection of Stephen Crane stories… See more details below

Overview

The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure (1898) contains thirteen short stories that deal with three periods in Crane's life: his Asbury Park boyhood, his trip to the West and Mexico in 1895 and his Cuban adventure in 1897. This collection was well received and included several of his most critically successful works. This collection of Stephen Crane stories contains "The Open Boat" and the following stories:

A Man and Some Others
One Dash Horses
Flanagan
The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky
The Wise Men
Death and the Child
The Five White Mice

"The Open Boat" is a short story by American author Stephen Crane. First published in 1897, it was based on Crane's experience of surviving a shipwreck off the coast of Florida earlier that year while traveling to Cuba to work as a newspaper correspondent. Crane was stranded at sea for thirty hours when his ship, the SS Commodore, sank after hitting a sandbar. He and three other men were forced to navigate their way to shore in a small boat; one of the men, an oiler named Billie Higgins, drowned after the boat overturned. Crane's personal account of the shipwreck and the men's survival, titled "Stephen Crane's Own Story", was first published a few days after his rescue.

Crane subsequently adapted his report into narrative form, and the resulting short story "The Open Boat" was published in Scribner's Magazine. The story is told from the point of view of an anonymous correspondent, Crane's fictional doppelgänger, and the action closely resembles the author's experiences after the shipwreck. A volume titled The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure was published in the United States in 1898; an edition entitled The Open Boat and Other Stories was published simultaneously in England. Praised for its innovation by contemporary critics, the story is considered an exemplary work of literary Naturalism, and is one of the most frequently discussed works in Crane's canon. It is notable for its use of imagery, irony, symbolism, and the exploration of such themes as survival, solidarity, and the conflict between man and nature. H. G. Wells considered "The Open Boat" to be "beyond all question, the crown of all Crane's work".

Although autobiographical in nature, "The Open Boat" is a work of fiction; it is often considered a principal example of Naturalism, an offshoot of the Realist literary movement, in which scientific principles of objectivity and detachment are applied to the study of human characteristics. While a majority of critics agree that the story acts as a paradigm of the human situation, they disagree as to its precise nature. Some believe the story affirms man's place in the world by concentrating on the characters' isolation, while others—including those who call "The Open Boat" ideologically Symbolist—insist that the story questions man's place in the universe through metaphorical or indirect means.

Like other major works by Stephen Crane, "The Open Boat" contains numerous examples of symbolism, imagery and metaphor. Vibrant descriptions of color, combined with simple, clear writing, are also apparent throughout, and humor in the form of irony serves in stark opposition to the dreary setting and desperate characters. Editor Vincent Starrett stated in his introduction to the 1921 collection of Crane's work entitled Men, Women and Boats that the author keeps "down the tone where another writer might have attempted 'fine writing' and have been lost." Other critics have noted similarities between the story and shipwreck-related articles Crane wrote while working as a reporter for the New York Tribune earlier in his career. Articles such as "The Wreck of the New Era", which describes a group of castaways drowning in sight of a helpless crowd, and "Ghosts on the Jersey Coast" contain stark imagery that strongly prefigures that of "The Open Boat".

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940015568332
Publisher:
Balefire Publishing
Publication date:
10/10/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
340
File size:
13 MB
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