One of the most well represented naturalistic writers during the Age of Realism was Stephen Crane. He combined his view of naturalism along with sarcasm to create the short story "The Open Boat." This story is his concrete explanation of naturalism. In naturalistic writing, nature and the Universe is not concerned with the affairs of the humankind, it is a cruel Universe in which man has to survive. Crane uses this in his story as nature and its elements, such as the ocean, to have no sympathy for the men being stranded in a boat. The men in this story come face to face with the carelessness of nature and they are nearly overcome by its lack of concern. These men only survive through persistence and cooperation.
Crane opens the story with the four men, just simply known as the captain, the oiler, the correspondent, and the cook, all stranded in the ocean in a small boat. Crane"s descriptions in the opening paragraphs show immediately the antagonism of the men and nature's lack of concern for their tragedy. "The birds sat comfortably in groups, and they were envied by some in the dingey, for the wrath of the sea was no more to them that it was to a covey of prairie chickens a thousand miles inland" (McMichael1492).
These four men have been placed in a desperate situation, but nature continues in its own selfish way around them, regardless of what might happen to them. This type of carelessness from nature causes the men to feel a certain type of alienation from nature. They begin to think that nature and the Universe has become hostile against them. "The waves were nervously anxious to do something effective in the way of swamping boats" (McMichael 1495). This is, however, just the normal activity of the ocean, not at all any act of aggression against them.
As the story goes on, the men begin to think that their destinies are being controlled by some outside force, but it soon occurs to them that there is no fate, or purpose, for them being in the position they are in.