In "The Open Boat," what is the effect of being told early in the story that the men are not near a rescue station?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Open Boat", the text states, early in the story, that the men are far from a rescue station. This allows the reader to know that there seems to be a greater fear than one knowing that the men are not far from rescue. The fact that neither the men or the reader know how far off rescue truly is raises the immediacy of the problem.

Even when one of the men (the cook) mentions a house of refuge the correspondent tells him that there is no one there to help them. The house of refuge is unmanned. This, again, adds to the fear which the men hold inside.

This effect is meant to draw the reader in so that they can begin to relate to the feelings of the men only to be compounded by the obstacles that the men continue to face until they come ashore.

marylew1 | Student

It brought about a tense situation becoming even more stressful. That was the immediate effect. Following that, there seemed to be a pensive attitude assumed by the four men.The Captain acted as a consoler, a parent trying to soothe and calm in such a trying circumstance. Each man's personality emerged forcefully, as did the thrashing and the howling winds. They wer obedient and respectful of the captain, never losing sight of the fact that he was in charge. the cook the oiler and the correspondent took turns at the oars without complaint, and in some cases saw some humor in a tenuous situation. They were indeed a cohesive group.

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The Open Boat

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