Stephen Crane

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What is the meaning of Stephen Crane's poem "I Saw a Man Pursuing the Horizon?"

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Stephen Crane's poem “I Saw a Man Pursuing the Horizon” is about a man pursuing an impossible dream. Just as we can never reach the horizon, no matter how hard we try, so the man in the poem has set himself a goal that he can never achieve. At the same time, most readers of the poem feel more than a little sympathetic to the man. No one really likes to be told that they can't do something, that whatever they're doing is futile, as the speaker of the poem says to the man. Everyone has their dreams, and no matter how unrealistic they may be, we don't take too kindly to anyone trying to rain on our parade. Those dreams are special; they are unique to us, and we want to hold on to them for as long as we can. Besides, many great men and women of the past—scientists, inventors, innovators—were doubtless told that their dreams were impossible to realize, and yet they achieved.

Whenever I read the poem, I always picture the man as a kind of eccentric genius, a scientist perhaps, who's been rudely interrupted in his experiments by the nay-saying speaker. That's why I remain firmly on the side of the man pursuing the horizon, and why I want him and countless others like him to keep on reaching.

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