Can there be figurative language(similie, metaphor, symbols) in a story that is supposed to be a piece of naturalistic fiction?
Yes. In fact, skilled writers of fiction and nonfiction use figurative language. Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech is riddled with figurative language, and Emerson's essays such as "Self-Reliance" feature thought-provoking metaphors.
In regards to Naturalist fiction, Crane's "Open Boat" relies heavily on similes, especially related to the author's description of the sea. In the story's opening paragraph, Crane uses the following simile to personify the dangerous sea.
"The horizon narrowed and widened, and dipped and rose, and at all times its edge was jagged with waves that seemed thrust up in points like rocks."
Similarly, Naturalist works often include symbols which represent Naturalism's themes of survival of the fittest and fatalism. Jack London's "To Build a Fire" serves as a good example of Naturalist symbolism.
Of course. Use of Naturslism doesnt deny the use of metaphors, similies or symbols in general. infact there is rather many usage of these literary devices in The Open Boat. For e.g.
The opening lines of the story' "none of them knew the colour of the sky", points to the deplorable situation of the four survivors who are denied a chance to look at the sky for all their concentration is upon the mad waves, trying to topple the open boat. The image of the waves is that of a broncho prancing, rearing and plunging like an animal. More e.g.s
It took an 'anxious eye' to find a lighthouse so tiny- transferred epithet
These two lights were the 'furniture' of the world- Metaphor
the very last sentence- they could then be interpreters- 'interpreters of life and death'