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Naturalism in "The Open Boat"

            In Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat," the indifference of Nature is a reoccurring theme. The role Nature plays forces man to struggle with his own role in life. With a skewed perception of the universe, man must come to terms with his rightful place among Nature. All of these themes are found in the writing techniques of the author. Crane uses tone, imagery, and simple sentence structure to portray man's submission to the indifference of Nature. The writing style, character portrayals and events depicted in Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" reflect a strong sense of naturalism.
             Justice has no relevance tot he indifferent attitude of Nature. The system of justice is not needed. Nature does not look for a specific result to its actions. Though strength prevails, Nature is always stronger than man, making man's attempts for survival useless. The strength of man has no relevance overall, but it is necessary to keep man from being singled out as weak. The optimism man holds stems from an ignorance of the power of Nature and hope for survival. The role of Nature, as portrayed in "The Open Boat," is that of "old-ninny woman," Fate. The four men are faced with the sea. When the final tempest comes, Billie, the oilier, challenges Fate. Billie overflows with a confidence that is dangerous in Nature. Billie asks Nature why it chooses to tease him with the hope of survival and throw a storm out to sea to try to kill him. Billie becomes very sure of his survival after all the effort that has been invested in his journey. Nature was "flatly .
             Indifferent" to the situation. If Billie had submitted to the sea, he would have survived the tempest. Nature did not care whether Billie lived or died. Justice is not an element of nature. Billie's survival was never assured. The ambiguity of nature forces humans to submit. Billie goes outside the order of Nature. He does not pass with the storm but fights it. In the end, his attempts for survival leave him dead.

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