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Stephen Cranes The Open Boat - Book Report/Review Example

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We hear the phrase that art imitates life but rarely do we consider it in a real sense. One story that forces us to consider what exactly this phrase means is Stephen Crane's short story, "The Open Boat." This story is the perfect example of art reflecting life because it is based on a very real, true, and horrific story that happened to Crane…
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Stephen Cranes The Open Boat
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Download file to see previous pages Crane was already noted as a realist writer and this story emphasizes his technique. The small dinghy, the large and engulfing ocean, the uncertainty of their future, the characters with which he spent this amount of time are presented to us very realistically and because they are real, we can see the story as nothing other than real. "The Open Boat" captures all of the aspects of realism because it depicts a real situation in the real world with personal experience expressed through characterization, realism, and personification.
The authors was actually stranded in a boat on the ocean. "The Open Boat" cannot help but be real because of the author's experience. It is fiction but it is more than that because we know that it is real. It is because of the story's real history that makes it stick in our minds. Fiction changes when we know that there is a portion of reality added to the mix. Fiction opens a door to a world that does not exist. When we know that a story has an element of reality involved, we are immediately drawn to the real world. Even if we do not want things to change, they do. The story changes because we know it is real. Metzger agrees with this notion, adding that the story is realistic because of the "facts presented, the perspectives employed" (Metzger) and he adds:
The contrasts stated are all joined in the work to des...
Indeed, the facts are presented and human generalizations are made and this completes a significant portion of the story. However, it does not complete the story. Other elements must be considered. These elements works together to create a story that is almost beyond real because we know that it actually happened. This knowledge changes our perspective, whether or not we are aware of it and heightens our interpretation of the story. Just as we change when a camera is aimed at us, we also change when we know that a story is based on fact. The "extra" knowledge adds an extra dimension to the story, making it more real. Benita Knapp concurs, explaining the details of Crane's personal experience. She reports that Crane once mentioned that "he wanted to go to some quarter of the world where mail is uncertain" (Knapp). Crane got to just this in November of 1896 when he set sail to cover the Cuban Revolution. Crane boarded the Commodore with Captain Edwin Murphy and not long afterward, the ship encountered thick fog. The aid of a local pilot did help the ship out of the fog but into a sandbar. While the boat was freed, it was not safe. In fact, no one would be able to guess the damage done to the ship. This damage was not recognized until later when the ship was at sea, when there was "no hope of saving the ship" (Knapp). Efforts to save the ship were fruitless and the leak caused severe damage to the ship. Eventually the engines gave out and those aboard were forced into lifeboats. According to Knapp, "Crane's conduct during this harrowing ordeal was superb: he soothed frightened men, helped bail out water, and acted like a born sailor. After the crew was in the lifeboats, Crane, the Captain, the cook and the oiler climbed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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