"Open Boat" written by Stephen Crane is a story of four men who had to abandon a ship and survive on a life boat until they reached shore. This story is told over approximately one full day. The men had to live out in the water in very bad waves for a day and had to last the night in the boat.
The short story "Open Boat" is a great example of an autobiographical fiction. An autobiographical fiction is when an author writes about a true occurrence that happened to him or her but puts a bit of fictional twist on it. In Stephen Crane's case he was on a steamship named the Commodore when it sank and he was forced to evacuate to a life boat on New Years day, 1897. He wrote a newspaper article about his experience on the life boat with the survivors. After completing the article, people enjoyed it so much that he made it into a short story. Autobiographical fiction is a great way for an author to tell a story about human life, which is usually a mediocre event or one that might be common and turn it into a fascinating or thought provoking tale. Additionally, the author can express his or her own feelings and relay a message through this style of writing.
The message was best put by one of the early readers of this story. Joseph Conrad once said "by the deep and simple humanity of its presentation, seems somehow to illustrate the essentials of life itself, like a symbolic tale." In this story the men start to realize certain things about life. They begin to look at life in a whole different way. Instead of taking things for granted they appreciate what they now don't have. Not only do they look at life differently but its is an experience that if lived through could teach them more about themselves than ever thought possible. This statement from the story best sums it up. "And after this devotion to the commander of the boat there was this comradeship that the correspondent, for instance who had been taught to be cynical of men, knew even at the time was the best experience of his life.