At the beginning, the characters are described collectively. Is the ending of the story a return to the collectiveform of the beginning? Example? At the beginning of “The Open Boat,” the characters...

At the beginning, the characters are described collectively. Is the ending of the story a return to the collective form of the beginning? Example?

At the beginning of “The Open Boat,” the characters are described collectively: “None of them knew the color of the sky. Their eyes glanced level, and were fastened on the waves that swept toward them.” Subsequently, the reactions of the individual characters are reported. Section VI is dominated by the ruminations of the correspondent. Give an example from the story.

Expert Answers info

Jonathan Beutlich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2014

write5,841 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

I'll answer the first question that is listed. Yes, I think the end of the story is a return to the collective; however, the narration at times returns to the collective throughout many other parts of the story. For example, readers get the following bit near the end of part 3.

Their backbones had become thoroughly used to balancing in the boat, and they now rode this wild colt of a dinghy like circus men. . . Everybody took a drink of water.

The narrator does take time to narrate about each individual and his individual struggles, but those struggles impact all four men in the boat. They are a tactical unit working for the survival of the group, so it makes sense that Crane would remind his readers about the group.

The opening paragraph does indeed focus on the men and "them." Readers don't get any individual descriptions in this paragraph. It is focused on the group. The final two paragraphs return to this form as well.

When it came night, the white waves paced to and fro in the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 759 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write6,704 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

bmadnick eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,334 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial