Following a shipwreck, four survivors are adrift in a leaking dinghy-The Open Boat. The captain is hurt but still able to lead, the cook keeps the boat afloat by bailing, and the correspondent and the oiler-a man whose job it is to oil machinery-take turns rowing. At first, angry at their situation and inclined to bicker, the men ultimately form bonds of empathy and, united, struggle to survive.
Based on author Stephen Crane's own experience of shipwreck off the coast of Florida in 1897, "The Open Boat" is considered by many to be his greatest work and the model of literary Naturalism. 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.
About the Author: Stephen Crane (November 1, 1871 - June 5, 1900) was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer.
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|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
The ninth surviving child of Protestant Methodist parents, Crane began writing at the age of four and had published several articles by the age of 16. Having little interest in university studies, he left college in 1891 to work as a reporter and writer. Crane's first novel was the 1893 Bowery tale Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, generally considered by critics to be the first work of American literary Naturalism. He won international acclaim in 1895 for his Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage, which he wrote without having any battle experience.
In 1896, Crane endured a highly publicized scandal after appearing as a witness in the trial of a suspected prostitute, an acquaintance named Dora Clark. Late that year he accepted an offer to travel to Cuba as a war correspondent. As he waited in Jacksonville, Florida, for passage, he met Cora Taylor, with whom he began a lasting relationship. En route to Cuba, Crane's vessel the SS Commodore, sank off the coast of Florida, leaving him and others adrift for 30 hours in a dinghy. Crane described the ordeal in "The Open Boat". During the final years of his life, he covered conflicts in Greece (accompanied by Cora, recognized as the first woman war correspondent) and later lived in England with her. He was befriended by writers such as Joseph Conrad and H. G. Wells. Plagued by financial difficulties and ill health, Crane died of tuberculosis in a Black Forest sanatorium in Germany at the age of 28.
At the time of his death, Crane was considered an important figure in American literature. After he was nearly forgotten for two decades, critics revived interest in his life and work. Crane's writing is characterized by vivid intensity, distinctive dialects, and irony. Common themes involve fear, spiritual crises and social isolation. Although recognized primarily for The Red Badge of Courage, which has become an American classic, Crane is also known for his poetry, journalism, and short stories such as "The Open Boat", "The Blue Hotel", "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky", and The Monster.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Having absolutely adored The Red Badge of Courage, I had higher hopes for this short story. It's the story of four shipwrecked me struggling to survive out at sea. They are tired, hungry, and desperate. They see land and believe they see people on the shore. They have to make the decision of when to start trying to swim to shore - on the one hand the boat they're in is not strong enough to keep them afloat much longer, but the longer they have to swim, the less likely they'll reach their destination. My favorite part of the story is the railing at fate. They remain optimist only by rationalizing that fate would have let them drown days ago if she meant to kill them. It keeps them focused on rescuing themselves.
Isn't it strange when the freshest, most intelligent, piece of literature you read is something that was written a hundred years ago? Well, that was definitely the case in Crane's compact description of four men struggling to outlast a horrific sea gale in a life raft smaller than a 'bathtub.' Even though the story does not delve too deeply into the relationships (or pysches) of the four men - that is, there is little dramatic tension - the story is simply a wonderfully-told tale of survival - the adventures of men against the elements. The reader is kept guessing until the final page who will survive. Morevoer, the reader is also left wanting to read more Crane. Maybe, 'The Red Badge of Courage' is worth reading after all.