The correspondent does note that although he and the others are facing death, he feels closer to them than any others in his life. Crane was a naturalist. Naturalism views humanity in the same terms that scientists viewed other animals; in objective observational fashion. The close bond formed among the men is dependent upon the threat that surrounds them all. They create a symbiotic balance. Like the laborers in anthill are aware that if they devote themselves to the good of the community, ultimately their needs are served. These men realize the same thing in a deep, tacit way that is beyond conscious thought. What is good for the group in the boat, saves the individuals in the boat as well.