What are the main themes of Stephen Crane's short story "The Open Boat"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The main theme of "The Open Boat" is Stephen Crane's favorite theme of the complete indifference of nature to mankind in a godless universe. When the men are finally washed ashore, one of them is drowned and the others survive. It is a matter of pure luck. Nature knows nothing and cares nothing about any of them, and there is no supernatural entity to whom they can appeal for help. They are strictly on their own (which is another theme), and they had better learn to cooperate for their mutual benefit.

Stephen Crane was Ernest Hemingway's favorite writer. It is easy to see why. Hemingway not only admired Crane's philosophy, but he admired him for being a writer who based his works on personal experience.

Another writer who resembles Stephen Crane is Jack London, who was a newspaper correspondent and adventurer like Crane and Hemingway.

Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” deals with a handful of men who have survived the sinking of their ship at sea and who are now trying to make it back...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 634 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team