The short story "The Open Boat" is based on the struggle between a man and nature. In this story, nature is one of the most important elements used by the author to express deep feeling and emotions of speakers and narrators. Crane preaches the sounding doctrine that the environment is a primary influence on the developing character. There are various topics of discussion that arise from the novel, with some topics relating to nature, some concerning conflicts between nature and spiritual world, and some dealing with the responsibilities of growing maturity. The uniqueness of the story is that Crane depicts places with physical beauty and places with souls, thus they use the theme of nature differently creating different meanings and interpretations of images and symbols borrowed from nature. Thesis The storm and bad weather symbolize weakness and temporality of human life and even a fate.
The main issue in the representation of nature can be identified as the symbolic meaning of natural phenomena and their relations with speakers. The remarkable feature of short story is that the author uses nature to depict their emotions and feelings symbolically.
The anxiety inherent in a sketch reflects the feeling of being unsettled. «A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully surmounting one wave you discover that there is another behind it just as important and just as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way of swamping boats" (Crane0. This episode deals with the life of a maturing men, but it also deals with the universal themes of growing up, accepting adult responsibilities, and leaving parents and adolescent concerns behind.
Nature functions as a background and symbolic representation of feelings and emotions while Romantics use nature as an imaginative world calm over stormy weather. Crane portrays God through nature and as a part of nature. Using nature, the author portrays powerful feelings and emotions, the theme of innocence and transparency of the world. Crane uses vivid images of sea and landscapes to impress readers and depict natural beauty and uniqueness of his feelings. In he short story, an illusion is a distortion of reality, a deception of sorts, wherein misleading appearance is perceived as the real or true nature of something.
"The crest of each of these waves was a hill from the top of which the men surveyed, for a moment, a broad tumultuous expanse; shining and wind-driven. It was probably splendid. It was probably glorious, this play of the free sea, wild with lights of emerald and white and amber" (Crane). Readers are withdrawn into the folds of an impersonal power which does not care for human attachment. The naturalists, who rely so heavily on sight, make an emotional connection to the landscape. Still, Crane is a distant watcher of reality.
Crane symbolically depicts the life of the narrator torn between the seemingly disorganized chaos and the highly structured but unapproachable promise of survival. The disruption of traditional ritual means for attaining manhood, however, has left him with no direction, no identity, and no feeling for the responsibilities of family, which he should have been ready to assume at the beginning of the novel. The author contemplates nature, both the natural world around them and their own inner nature. "There was a considerable silence as the boat bumped over the furrowed sea to deeper water. Then somebody in gloom spoke. "Well, anyhow, they must have seen us from the shore by now" (Crane). Crane traces a movement of taste away from admiration of ordered, cultivated nature towards the worship of wild, untamed, mountainous nature. Crane uses nature to express fascination and attraction of the imaginable settings.
Choices of personal identity; human responsibilities to the earth, to oneself, and to others; the ravages; the presence of evil and goodness in humanity; the development of physical, mental, and spiritual health; war and violence; change as essential to renewal; the nurturing of children; the recurrence of all that happens--all these are thematic considerations in the short story. While the objectivity of his vision is reflected in his lyrical response to nature, it is also expressed in crucial episodes.
"What's that idiot with the coat mean? What's he signaling, anyhow?"
"It looks as if he were trying to tell us to go north. There must be a life-saving station up there." (Crane).
In satirizing, the narrator puts on a mask and speaks as an independent thinker. An exchange of views between two such speakers often creates irony and acute satire.
Traditionally, they must be warriors, hunters, and visionaries, but also they must learn a trade or profession in a world that is little interested in their traditional skills or way of life.
In sum, Crane uses nature as an inspiration speaking about spiritual matters and nature. It requires no leap of faith to see that there are many affinities, especially in terms of the relationship formulation of these symbols which offer protection while promoting self-expansion. The symbolism is built on the associations the author brings to the story. Nature is used as background and the main method to portray inner feelings and thoughts of speakers. The wild spirit which resides in the landscapes are expressed by the author upon the polite world of nature. Perhaps the central theme, deals with the near impossibility of men finding a place in the world that suits their traditional heritage but also does not give them the security to assume such a responsible role.