The author Stephen Crane is one of thefamous writers who represented the Marxism and the naturalism in his arts. Whenhe wrote “The Open Boat” in 1897, he depicted the Marxism from his charactersand the naturalism throughout the story. In addition, from the Fact, notfiction: Questioning our assumptions about Crane’s “The Open Boat”,”Before he published his book, Stephen Crane was shipwrecked and lost in theocean on the boat for more than 30 hours in January 1897″ (Eye 65). With this,Crane used his personal experiences to describe how the men desperatelychallenged to the nature for their survival and utilize characters to representdifferent classes in the society.
This paper will discuss four main characterswith their roles to describe the Marxism, identifies important symbols, whichexplain about the naturalism, and themes of “The Open Boat”, to help readers tounderstand the author’s ideas or thoughts from the story.The author Stephen Crane began the storywith four people and they located at the small boat. He assigned differentroles to his characters, so he could point out their classes in the society.His four main characters are the captain of the boat, the oiler, the cook, andthe correspondent. The captain is the master or the commander of the ship whousually gives commands and controls other characters and this characterrepresents the upper class. The cook is the character that has the life-savingvest that represents the middle class because he has more resources than theOiler. The Oiler, Billie, the hard worker and the strongest person in the smallboat who represents the lower class.
Billie “the oiler” is an importantcharacter and he is the protagonist of “the Small Boat” because he is the onlycharacter who has the name and plays a role as the proletariat. The lastcharacter is the correspondent who serves as the narrator and the eyes of thestory to help readers to understand the scenes and relationship between thesecharacters. In the Crane’s art, he used two symbols todescribe his readers how his main characters fought various challenges againstnature and give them a hope that they can able to reach the secure place. Forexample, “the Boat” symbolizes the world or the society where people live andworks for their survival. It also ensures them to realize their capabilities,which they may not save “the Boat” from constant threats of nature.
Moreover,”the Boat” did not give the security to everyone while they struggled for theirsurvival and give them not only the uncertainty of their quality of life butalso threatens to destroy their society or the world. Another symbol is the”Tall Wind Tower”, which symbolizes the only peaceful place in nature andpeople probably avoid any devastating threats from it. The correspondentdescribed his feelings about the “Tall Wind Tower”, he felt that there are nohigh waves to claim people’s lives in the small boat and it looked the safeplace for them. The author Stephen Crane established two main themes in “The Open Boat”, which are the nature can overcomethe men and the boat is not the best place for the people’s lives. Itseems that he used these themes to emphasize thenaturalism. From the Nature as Protagonist in “The Open Boat”, “Asingular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfullysurmounting one wave you discover that there is another behind it just asimportant and just as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way ofswamping boats” (Hilfer 248), this described that the men cannot succeed thebattle with the nature of their success because the nature demonstrated itspower to disregard their efforts.
Moreover, from the Open Boat: And Other Talesof Adventure “The little boat, lifted by each towering sea, and splashedviciously by the crests, made progress that in the absence of sea-weed was notapparent to those in her” (Crane 15), this described that they recognize thelittle boat is not a good place for them and it might lead to disadvantage from the nature.From the short story “The Open Boat”, theauthor Stephen Crane pursued his thoughts of the Marxism from four main characters, the Captain, the Cook, the Oiler, and theCorrespondent. These characters effectively represented various classes within the small boat or the society, so it was easier for his readers tounderstand about the Marxism.Additionally, Crane applied two key symbols to prove his ideas whenhe demonstrated his characters’classes in thesmall boat and the tall wind tower could givethem a shelter to avoid any threats or hardship. Finally, themes of Crane’s “The Open Boat”, which illustrated to pointout the naturalismto his readers and Crane believed that nature isstrong enough to destroy people’s lives and the smallboat or the society may not ableto protect people fromthe nature.