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“The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane Essay

In the story “The Open Boat” the author, Stephen Crane, uses a lot of figurative language. Figurative language is used in this short story to give a valid picture of what the men are going through by comparing something that the reader probably hasn’t seen. Examples of how figurative language works in this story are showing the comparison to how small the boat really is and how big the waves are. They are so big compared to the boat that they can’t see anything but those waves. Other examples of uses of figurative language will be shown on later in this paper.

This story was truly a conflict between the men and the sea. All of the men worked together to try to conquer the sea. For instance when the men were rowing the oilier and the correspondent saw a man walking on the beach. They soon began to realize that this man on shore was a tourist and was just standing there watching them drown at sea. As the men kept rowing through the waves to get to the shore the oilier jumped out and started swimming. In his attempts to swim to the shore a strong current took him and he drowned there at sea. The other men made it to the shore and lived. To really show the intensity of the storm that the men had to go through the author used many more used of figurative language.

Using figurative language in this story is a crucial component in making this story’s smooth reading. If figurative language wasn’t used in this story the reader would have a harder for the reader to get the full extent of the story. It really makes the reader feel like they are on the boat with those men. One type of figurative language that the author uses is a simile. The waves seemed “thrust up in points like rocks” (Open Boat pg. 107). When reading this quote from the story the reader can really see how big those waves have to be to make them look like huge rocks. Another quote from the story which was an understatement was “a night at sea in an open boat is a long night” (Open Boat pg. 117). In this quote Crane is using figurative language to show that being in an open boat in the night with the storm makes it a long night.

It’s not that the time is actually longer then normal, but for the four men it seemed that time was slowing down like the morning was never going to come. The readers can look at this and put this instance in their minds about a time when time seemed to slow down for them and what they wanted wasn’t coming soon enough. Another type of figurative language that Crane used was personification. “If this old ninny-woman, Fate, cannot better than this, she should be deprived of the management of men’s fortunes. She is an hen who knows not her intentions” (Open Boat pg. 114). Continuing this quote in the story it goes on saying that if the storm was going to kill them it was suppose to happen already. This quote makes the reader think back to a time when they had to deal with a grandparent or an older person and how stubborn in their ways they can be. The storm in the men’s eyes is that the storm was meant there to kill them and it’s going to keep trying until it has succeeded. The storm to them is just as stubborn as they remember there grandma was.

With all these examples of figurative language that Crane uses the reader can really see and feel what the men might have gone through. Figurative language helps the reader pickup things from the story that they might have not picked up on there own. If figurative language wasn’t in the story, the story would have been very dry and boring. There would have been nothing there to make the story interesting and grab the interest of the readers. With figurative language being there the reading becomes very fast and really gets the reader into the story and wanting to read on. The author was very smart in adding all these different kinds of figurative language.

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