In the story "The Open Boat" what do the cigars and matches symbolize?

Expert Answers
lewismct eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After the men see the lighthouse, the correspondent finds eight cigars in the "top pocket of his coat".  Four were soaked and  "four were perfectly scatheless" someone found three matches and the "with an assurance of an impending rescue shining in their eyes, puffed at the big cigars and judged well and ill of all men. Everybody took a drink of water."  When the men smoke the cigars together it is symbolic of their closeness and also a celebration that they think they will be rescued.  It is also notable that four cigars were drenched and four were dry.  This adds to the suspense concerning the outcome for the men--will they be drenched or dry.  Who might survive?  Who might drown?

Read the study guide:
The Open Boat

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question