In Stephen Crane’s book, Open boat, the point of view is from a third person. This is because the narrator does not use “I” to describe themselves. The author employs the third person omniscient narration to relay the story to the audience. This is because the narrator assumes to know the entire situation, including the feelings and the thoughts of the characters in the story.
Telling the story from a first or second person’s point of view would create some kind of tension emerging from the character’s exclusive viewpoint and the real happening in the outside world. Contrary to this style, where the tension is mainly between what the reader really perceives in the outside world and what is happening from the character’s point of view.
After fighting and struggling so hard for their lives, the men in the boat become very frustrated that they could still die, despite getting close to the shore. This conveys the perception of loneliness coming from the understanding and believing that all the workings and struggles in the universe are insignificant to its functioning. The men perceive that the universe functions with fear of nothing and their fate dictate nothingness. It actually shows that men are completely helpless in the face of nature.
The fact that the narrator tells the reader that the men are nowhere close to a rescue station creates a feeling of despair and tension with eagerness to know what they will do to survive.
The narrator likens nature to an animal, man, and god. However, the author makes it clear that nature is indifferent to the plight of man (Crane, P. 57). He makes the reader feel that nature possesses no conscious that man could understand. The progress of the story reveals that nature does not have any concern for men at all. The author reveals that nature is unresponsive to man by showing the reader that it is indiscriminately as helpful as it is hurtful. Basically, nature lacks concern for their problems.
First, the sea was a natural force that was acting against the plight of the four men. The waves in the sea and the winds kept the boat from going ahead. The sea kept silent at times and rocked at other times making the men to despair. The waves deprived the men of any hope of surviving.
The narrator also takes the reader through the minds of the men and gives us other natural forces like the entire universe. The men think of the universe as uncaring with no sympathy.
Unfortunately, the men could only form mind wars against nature since they recognize that there was least they could do, besides they understand that fate never existed. They manage to survive all through persistence and corporation with one another (Crane, P. 134). They decide to jump and swim towards the shore.
Generally, the open boat illustrates man’s relationship with the universe, although there can be different perspectives about the nature of the relationships. This work shows that there is no romanticism between man and nature. For instance, the man is stranded in the sea, which shows no concern at all. It constantly snarls and hisses. It is hostile to man and renders him helpless. This is figuratively illustrating Crane’s view that nature is quite indifferent to man. I, therefore, agree with the critic.
Crane’s use of description adds to the story’s effectiveness by making the scenes in the story memorable to the reader and realistic. This gives the reader an experience of emotion and makes them share the feelings of the characters. It also enlivens the scenes and brings the characters to life. For instance, the author describes the way the birds sat watching and seemingly enjoying the predicament in which the four men were (Crane, p. 14). With this description, the reader gets the feeling that nature was practically mocking the four men in the boat.
Another example of a description is when the author introduces the situation facing the four men, the way the narrator explains the positioning of their eyes on the waves as if begging for sympathy. The narrator describes the way the waves keep sweeping towards them, forming white on the tops. Further, the narrator describes the horizon from the men’s point of view and thoughts, as narrowed, dipped and risen (Crane, p. 1). The narrator provides the reader with a vivid description of the situation facing the four men in the sea. It makes the reader feel their despair from the onset of the story.
Crane, Stephen. The open boat. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library, 1995. Print.