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

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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...

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hinashahid | Student

Stephen crane has written "The Open Boat" with thorough observation and perfection of thought.This is the story of human struggle.The four men are portrayed struggling and they represent the human race in general.While going through the story ,we get an impression that humans overwhelm the nature,but the outcome reveals that man can never dominate over it.Humans,by themselves think that they have been created to conquer all the forces of nature .The struggle between the nature and man is evolutionary.Man thinks himself to be the   champion and superior of the universe .At his defeat , he is disappointed and seem to surrender completely .Therefore a man continue to struggle and at the end of the day he would get the fruits of his hardships.

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