Life On The Horizon English Literature Essay
The Open Boat and Stephen Crane’s newspaper account are completely different. The way Crane explains the shipwreck in his own story is emotionless. He mainly goes through the steps of what happens: the ship wrecked, they fought against Mother Nature, and they were rescued. In The Open Boat, Crane makes you feel as if you were there. The in depth details of what the four men endured is mind boggling. It makes you appreciate how valuable a person’s life truly is.
The Open Boat states, “Many a man ought to have a bath-tub larger than the boat which here rode upon the sea.” The oiler, Billie Higgins, steered with one oar while the correspondent pulled at the other oar, watching the waves and wondering why he was there. The injured captain laid in the bow in disbelief that his ship went down. The captain stood by his men throughout this tragedy. Although he was injured the captain steered the men to safety. “Keep’er a little more south, Billie,” said he. The correspondent and the oiler sat in the same seat, and each rowed an oar. The Open Boat says, “Then the oiler took both oars; then the correspondent took both oars; then the oiler; then the correspondent. They rowed and they rowed.” The captain said that he had seen the lighthouse at Mosquito Inlet. The cook said that he had seen it also. The correspondent was at the oars at this time, and he too wished to look at the lighthouse, but he wasn’t able to turn his head because the waves were important to watch. The correspondent at last was able to see the lighthouse. It was like the point of a pin. “Think we’ll make it, captain?” said the correspondent.
The bond these men shared on the seas was hard to describe. No one talked about it, but each and every one of them felt it. The Open Boat says, “As soon as the correspondent touched the cold comfortable sea-water in the bottom of the boat, and had huddled close to the cook’s life-belt he was deep in sleep.” This sleep was so good to him that it was but a moment before he heard a voice call his name in a tone that demonstrated the last stages of exhaustion. “Will you spell me?” said Billie. The men had to work together if they wanted to survive. They valued their life far too much to give up. Dying wasn’t an option at this point. They had fought through every monstrous wave together, as a team. The lighthouse was only a few miles away but because the waves were crashing down the men couldn’t make it in the dinghy. They had to swim to shore. The correspondent was in water that reached to his waist, but he wasn’t able to stand for more than a few seconds. Every wave knocked him down and the under-tow pulled him back. A man on shore dragged the cook, and then he went towards the captain who waved him away. He sent the man to get the correspondent. The correspondent cried out as he pointed his finger. The correspondent said: “Go.” It was the oiler, lying face down in the sand, that the correspondent was pointing his finger at. The man who fought hardest during the shipwreck died. He literally worked himself to death to save the other men.
Although The Open Boat and Stephen Crane’s own story are worlds apart, the meaning behind them is like no other. A person should value their life because it could be taken away before they realize it. People are ungrateful for life, but once someone reads the two stories a different meaning of what living is will have them second guessing who they really are and what life is to them.
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