In Stephen Crane's short story, "The Open Boat," Crane demonstrates, through symbolism and allegory, that nature is indifferent toward man. The characters in the story come face to face with and are nearly overcome by nature's apparent apathy. Man's struggles in the face of this elemental indifference are marked by a grim irony the oiler, the strongest of the group, drowns, but the sea leaves unclaimed the wounded captain and the cowardly cook. The story had been taking place as a third person, for example, the sentence "None of them knew the color of the sky" In this sentence, the reference is the use of the word 'them' which mean a third person pronoun. The narrator is knowing as existence, be able to perceive the thoughts and feelings of the four men.
As the story continue, the correspondent seemingly becomes the paramount character, which switches the narration to a third person limited omniscient. The indifference of nature is illustrated throughout the story in various ways: as the high, cold winter star, the roaring waves, and the menacing shark symbolically suggest. The correspondent and the oiler are the only rowers on the boat, sacrificing their backs and well-being to get the four to a safety place and make them survive. The oiler follows the captain's orders without question and lineup without strength. However, nature does not differentiate, and all the strength in the world can not relieve its hardness. Maybe, the exhaustion from the tireless rowing was Billie's overthrow. That being said, it seems that the strongest person do not always survive.
The struggle of "Man vs. Nature" is a clear theme throughout The Open Boat. The sea, that describe the inexorable with its snarling waves and monstrous rollers, offers no consolation for a weary crew. While the downtrodden crews wishing for mercy from the seven gods, their prayers did not answered. They quickly realize themselves in this monster of an ocean.