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, with Crane as the implied author, 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"
PLOT:"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....
Stephen Crane (November 1, 1871 - June 5, 1900) was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. Prolific throughout his short life, he wrote notable works in the Realist tradition as well as early examples of American Naturalism and Impressionism. He is recognized by modern critics as one of the most innovative writers of his generation.