The Open Boat Questions and Answers
What is Crane saying in this passage of "The Open Boat"? "When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples. Any visible expression of nature would surely be pelleted with his jeers. Then, if there be no tangible thing to hoot he feels, perhaps, the desire to confront a personification and indulge in pleas, bowed to one knee, and with hands supplicant, saying: 'Yes, but I love myself.'"
How does the use of color imagery in "The Open Boat" enhance the reader's understanding of the story itself?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the captain, correspondent, and the cook in "The Open Boat"?
In "The Open Boat," how do you interpret the correspondent’s sense that his time in the lifeboat is “the best experience of his life”? Why does he sense that the other men share his feelings? Why is it important that they never verbalize these feelings?
How does paragraph 11 of "The Open Boat" contribute to the development of the narrators point of view?
In paragraph 9 of "The Open Boat," we are told that as each wave came, the boat "seemed like a horse making at a fence outrageously high." Point to the other vivid similes or figured of speech. What do they contribute to the story's effectiveness?
The sea is the great antagonist in Crane’s story "The Open Boat." Are the men saved primarily by their own efforts or by chance?
What is the setting of the story? What is the significance of the setting considering that the story is told in the naturalist literary style?
What does the incident with the shark in part 5 of "The Open Boat" reveal about the correspondent’s and captain’s points of view in this passage?
In "The Open Boat," what are two instances of dramatic irony in which the characters' perceptions don't match the reality of the situation?
What symbolism can you see in Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat”? What is the author saying about our relationship with nature? Focus on how the story exemplifies themes of naturalism.
Near the end of "The Open Boat," how do the correspondent's experiences on the boat drive him toward his new understanding of morality? Why should a life-or-death struggle at sea make him think of social functions like first meetings or formal tea conversations?
What does this quote, from "The Open Boat," mean? "When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples."
Compare and contrast "The Open Boat" with The Awakening, with reference to self-determination and free-will.
When do you become aware that your view of events in “The Open Boat” is limited to things seen and heard by the four men in the boat? In what specific ways is that important to the story’s effect? Where does the story’s perspective “expand” to include larger reflections and generalizations? How are they justified by the narrative point of view?
Choose two ways that harsh conditions and remote locations of the setting contribute to the theme passage.
Who are the individuals in the story? What are their duties? List some examples of the indifference of nature against the struggle of the men. What is the meaning of the sea gulls taunting the men in the boat? How do the men form a brotherhood? List some examples.
What does the incident with the shark in part 5 reveal about the correspondent’s and captain’s points of view in this passage?
What is the significance of the first sentence of "The Open Boat": "None of them knew the color of the sky"?
Explain how the writer uses language and techniques to describe the movement of the boat in “The Open Boat.”
Why aren't the men identified by name, and why is the oiler the only one whose name is given in "The Open Boat"?
From "The Open Boat," write a paragraph in which you trace the correspondent's state of mind, and analyze the factors that cause it to change various times.
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