Fri, 4 February 2022
After battling the tempestuous sea, four men in a boat finally spy land. But will the process of getting to the land be their undoing? Stephen Crane, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.
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This week’s story is by Stephen Crane, and is often anthologized and taught in high schools. There are a few things that struck me when I researched this book:
When the crew in the boat near land, the approach to safety (land) is the very thing that could kill them, if they are smashed on the rocks. It totally reminded me of our bout with COVID. As we get closer and think that’s okay, but then, no, no, no, that’s too dangerous, get back, get back. Hopefully we can all make it to safety soon.
One of the main themes of this story is the ambivalence of nature, and how we tend to put our human spin on the nature of nature. The story kind of states that nature just doesn’t care about the plight of mankind. In the softer, contemplative moments of the book, it isn’t a gentle providence taking care of the men, and they don’t humbly surrender to it. It’s a harsh, ambivalent nature that could care less if the creatures living on it live or die. But in the end, humanity is humanity. It’s a fascinating look at how we take care of each other in times of crisis.
And now, The Open Boat, by Stephen Crane.