The Open Boat by Stephan Crane

Topic: EntertainmentGames
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Last updated: May 5, 2019

Stephan Crane is known as the first writer of American realism with a handful of popular pieces of literature. Originally, Crane was a poet, writing many poems that fall in the radical category.

In 1897, Crane set out on an expedition to Cuba, and during that expedition the SS Commodore sank, and Stephen Crane spent thirty hours in an dinghy boat before he and his three companions reached the Florida coast (Spofford 316). Soon after he wrote “Stephan Crane’s Own Story” which involved all the facts about the expedition except the thirty hours he and his companions spent in the dinghy. He later published the short story of “The Open Boat” which included the thirty hour boat ride in the dinghy. It has been questioned through literature if all the events that Crane wrote about in “The Open Boat” actually happened in the open boat, or that these ideas were already present in Crane’s mind and his unusual experience sparked them to become a short story.

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Many critics have responded in various ways to Stephan Crane’s “The Open Boat.” In this paper, I will summarize the comments of two critics writing about the short story. Among many who have critiqued “The Open Boat,” Sura Rath and Mary Shaw interpreted the short story in a way that stood out to me more than most. The focus of their literary criticism is to identify the point of view Crane uses in his story and his narration style as a whole. “This dialogic perspective helps us explain the plot beyond the story’s irony, the focal point of most traditional interpretations. It throws light on the curious triangular relationship among the three Cranes in the story”(Rath & Shaw 95).

Rath and Shaw interpret in a way that shines light on the fact that the short story could be told from both an actor point of view and a spectators point of view. Crane as an actor tells us a story in a manner that shows how he was one who suffered the events of what happens when you sur…

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