In "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane, in which the conflict is man vs. nature, what do the men fear about nature?

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The men most fear their own death by Nature, that it does not particularly concern Nature whether they live or die because Nature is going about its own processes and practices. In the first paragraph, for example, the narrator says,

The horizon narrowed and widened, dipped and rose, and at all times its edge was jagged with waves that seemed thrust up in points like rocks.

Nature is brutal. It rocks and jostles the men in the boat with waves that are described as being as treacherous as rocks. The connotation of words like "jagged" and "thrust" is violent and harsh, and this illustrates the men's fear of Nature. It is uncontrollable, and despite their best efforts, they really cannot do much to help themselves. It feels, to them, as though they ride in a "bath-tub" because they are so dwarfed by the sheer enormity and awesomeness of Nature, of the sea, of the waves that are...

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