Stephen Crane:"The Open Boat" and "Blue Hotel" Book Review by Nicky

Stephen Crane:"The Open Boat" and "Blue Hotel"
An analysis of the fable of Stephen Crane's 'naturalistic' "The Open Boat" and the life lesson of his "Blue Hotel".
# 149690 | 2,347 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 28, 2011 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper examines the argument that the frequent characterization of the story and Crane's career as a whole as exemplary of American naturalism or realism has clouded a more nuanced view of "The Open Boat."The paper also discusses how, iIn contrast to his novels, such as the novella The Blue Hotel, "The Open Boat" has a deliberately symbolic, fable-like, almost fairy tale-like style and how, even the idea that it is about 'four men in a tub' undercuts the realism of many of the descriptions of the natural world. In contrast, the paper looks at how in "The Blue Hotel", the characters are buffeted by nature, rather than individuals who make poor choices who bring their fates upon them and how the fable-like quality is further underlined--the men have no choice but to resist the sea or die, they do not seek out their own demise.

From the Paper:

"In "The Open Boat," the four main characters are stranded in dinghy "four sailors, bound together by misfortune and camaraderie, form a community, and insofar as each of them is defined and limited by our understanding of their joint predicament," (Rath & Shaw 97). Much like in a fable, the characters are defined primarily by their vocation, role in the plot, and a few generalized character traits: their complexity as individual actors does not fully evolve. The problem in defining the style of "The Open Boat:" "lies somewhere between the story's two poles: the narrator's journalistic duty to maintain strict fidelity to the events of the marine accident that inspired the tale, and the author's artistic desire to dramatize the ethical conflict underlying an intensely human situation" (Rath & Shaw 97). "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Crane, Stephen. The Blue Hotel. July 17, 2009.
  • Crane, Stephen. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Kessinger Publishing, 2004.
  • Crane, Stephen. "The Open Boat." Scribner's Magazine 21 (May 1894): 728-740.
  • Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage. Project Gutenberg edition.July 17, 2009.
  • Colvert, James B. "Limitations of Perspective in the Fiction of Stephen Crane." Stephen Crane Studies 15.1 (2006): 6-8.

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