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The Open Boat

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,452 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Do your students enjoy a good laugh? Do they like to be scared? Or do they just like a book with a happy ending? No matter what their taste, our Creative Short Stories series has the answer.We've taken some of the world's best stories from dark, musty anthologies and brought them into the light, giving them the individual attention they deserve. Each book in the series has ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published June 1st 1982 by Creative Education (first published September 28th 1981)
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHatchet by Gary PaulsenCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsLord of the Flies by William GoldingNight by Elie Wiesel
Best Survival Stories
122nd out of 686 books — 1,245 voters
Wuthering Heights by Emily BrontëAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainUlysses by James JoyceA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Hemingway's Recommended reading
12th out of 30 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,246)
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Sana R. Gondal
The best use of impressionism I've ever read. Crane addresses the existential crisis of man in such a poignant manner, that it's difficult to let go of the overwhelming and conflicting sensation of being understood and still being helpless that this story resonates.

We are so small. We are so ignorant. Does our insignificance outweigh our importance? When facing nature, our greatest adversary, who do we rely on but the brotherhood of mankind?

In just a few pages of irony and metaphors, Crane give
Luís Blue Yorkie
The short story "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane tells the tale of four men trying to survive the unforgiving ocean in a lifeboat after a shipwreck off the coast of Florida. The prospect of a lighthouse and a strip of land in the distance keep the men going, but frequent disappointments and the persistence of the cruel ocean threaten to destroy the hopes of the weakening crew.
I read Crane's "Red Badge of Courage" while in high school and without ever giving it a second thought over the years I've always recommended it highly to anyone who's ever asked. But after reading "The Open Boat," it seems I'd forgotten exactly how powerful a writer Crane really was.

I've never quite shared in the ultimate philosophy of writers like London, Conrad, and Crane yet they perpetually rank among my favorites, mainly I think, because the masculine vocabulary and narrative of "naturalis
Completely adequate as a short story about three men stranded in a boat.
Jim Robles
This was based on a "real life" experience. A fine treatise on free-will vs. fate. We are alone.

The sixty-eighth book I have finished this year. I read the version at:

p. 5. Many a man ought to have a bath-tub larger than the boat which here rode upon the sea.

The story is reminiscent of the protagonist, in "The Red Badge of Courage," who felt he was being carried (swept) forward in a "box" (of the soldiers surrounding him). Do we have "free will" or e
"The water was cold."

There's a wonderful scene in Joseph Conrad's 'Victory' where Heyst and Lena are in the jungle on their island and are looking for their former servant, Wang. When they come to a barrier of fallen trees and branches they notice spear points protruding from the tangle. Slowly the face of Wang appears as the spears retract into the jungle, but Wang is holding a gun, Heyst's gun. No understanding can be made between Heyst and Wang and Wang slips back into the dark jungle and the
E. Elizabeth
Rating clarification: 3.5 stars

(A spoiler-free review)

I was exhausted after reading this story. Crane stuck me in a rickety little boat with four shipwrecked men, and I felt their fear, their hope, and their grim determination. He conveys problems I would never have thought of: the challenge of switching places in an unstable dingy, for example. His descriptions were so vivid that I wondered if he had undergone something like this himself. After I finished the story, I discovered that it was he
Cat Grimalkin Niedzwiecki
This estimable conte is not apprehending, but is handsomely written. The savory sentences are all different lengths -like individual and harmonizing melodies - and are reminiscent of the waves in the sea where the story takes place. These high and low tides happening simultaneously probably will not make you sea sick, since the shy account of plot seems out and out static - like "Red Badge of Courage" - without a crossover. Left me a little peckish.
My unfledged say,


Man seems alone against nature. Four men struggling with the sea's diabolic wrath were stranded on their open boat and left with their instinctive nature to survive . The captain, the correspondent, the oiler, and the cook realize the atrocious reality they are dealing with. They have been stripped down from everything except their physical endurance in order to get to the shore. This is where man endeavors to overcome the obstacles of life but nature proves as indifferent. I fell madly in love ...more
Joe Holley
Making my way down a list of suggested books to read per Hemingway and this was second on the list. A story of four men whose ship sunk and they, the only survivors, float in a dinghy in the ocean hoping for land or rescue. Their story is full of symbolism and examines the plight of society vs. nature and the indifference in regards to mankind in relation to nature. It was refreshing to read a story that while short, is full of so much for the reader to ponder and digest. So much more than a sto ...more
Celine Parker
I love this short story by the great Stephen Crane. A group of men find themselves at the mercy of nature when they are at sea in a small boat during a storm.
"If I am going to be drowned-- if I am going to be drowned-- if I am going to be drowned, why, in the name of the seven mad gods, who rule the sea, was I allowed to come thus far and contemplate sand and trees? Was I brought here merely to have my nose draged away as I was about to nibble the sacred cheese of life?"

When I was going through the majority of Stephen Crane's works a few months ago, I somehow never read this even though I probably had the opportunity. I think I got tired of him after
This story describes the experience of men in a boat during a storm. The thoughts of the cook are particularly memorable.
Kimberly Erskine
I just finished reading Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” for my US Lit class. I have never read anything by Stephen Crane before and his story wasn’t really my usual preferred style, but I actually really enjoyed this story.

I feel like this story was mainly about hope and not giving up despite hardships you may face. In this story a bunch of men are sailing on rough waters. Their boat isn’t in very good shape and they fear that they will sink and drown before reaching land. They are constantly on
This short story is based upon Crane’s own experience of being in a dinghy after the ship he was on sank. In the story, four men have been in a ten-foot boat for three days, the injured captain, the oiler, the cook, and the correspondent, the latter presumably Crane himself. Crane’s descriptions of the sea and the waves are powerful, and the fatigue and emotions of the men are skillfully explored as hour after hour passes. Finally the men are in sight of shore but cannot land because of the reef ...more
Me interesó leer esta obra sólo porque la escuché mencionar en un documental sobre los Beatles.
Es un documental que trata sobre una supuesta revelación que George Harrison; integrante de los Beatles, grabó en audiocassette justo antes de morir, a causa de un intento de asesinato.
Harrison, cansado de ocultar durante años, confiesa que en el 66, Paul Mcartney murió en un accidente automovilístico y fue reemplazado por un doble. También menciona que, John Lennon se inspiró en ‘the open boat‘ para o
CG Fewston
Here are some great lines I took from this book:

Chapter VI:

''When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples. Any visible expression of nature would surely be pelleted with his jeers.''

Chapter VII:

''The welcome of the land to the men from the sea was warm and generous, but a still and d
Leggings Are Never Pants
There must be some deep meaning to this story, but all I read was a boring account of a few men escaping from a shipwreck. There does not seem to be a point, or a universal lesson, or satirical jab. Some men were in a shipwreck, and now they are rowing for an island in a tiny, leaking, boat. Eventually they make it to shore, all but one who dies while they all swim for the shore.
❄️ Propertea Of Frostea ❄️
I was bored. No, seriously... Either I don't understand ordeals at sea(hey I loved Life of Pi) or I was very confused as to why they refused to go ashore at the first sight of land but wanted only the specific... Landmarks. Like, hell, your boat is a wreck and you want others to come out for you while you can still reach dry land somehow?
Maybe, maybe I wasn't... That open to this Open Boat.
Crane has a strong and acute vision of the sea, creating intense and powerful atmosphere and imagery. While the ending was a bit confusing at first, the inevitability and indifference of nature and of God is a throbbing vein throughout the piece. This work is dark and short, but well worth the time.
So elegantly written. This was the first survival novel that really spoke to me. And it made me think in new ways. And if that wasn't enough, the poetry in this book has stayed with me for decades, come back to me at times like verses in a well-known song. It takes especially great writing to do that.
One of the greatest American short-stories ever written. Full of playful irony that most don't get upon the first read. Hard to categorize as it is frequently touted as high-mark in literary naturalism, yet features some proto-modernist and even proto-postmodern qualities.

Gaden Corpening
Superb writing!!

I had to read this short story for an American Literature assignment, and was I astonished at the writing style of Crane. Describing the brutalities of the sea and the hardships of these four men is a true gift of this writer. I highly recommend!
Wow. This is good. The descriptions are wonderful and I know there must be so many layers to this short story that I'm probably not understanding correctly.
It's actually a bit calming also, even though it regards a group of men stuck in a small lifeboat at sea, battling the waves just short of the shore.
Mallika Soni
It isn't bad, its just overrated. I know it has the existential qualms of a human being but come on just because Hemingway suggested the book doesn't mean it will be amazing. The story is good, terse yet the shipping terminology makes it tedious and never ending.
Scott Stillman
In Stephen Crane’s short story “The Open Boat,” are four men adrift off the shore of Florida in a raging January sea facing nature’s wrath, stranded in a 10 foot open dinghy, the last survivors of their ship that was lost just before dawn. With the light of dawn the four men, the fat cook, the injured Captain, the correspondent, and Billy Higgens, the oiler, begin to grasp the gravity of their dire situation. With this understanding comes the realization that their main conflict will be against ...more
I read this short story back in high school and I enjoyed re-reading it again just recently. I recall some folks back then being frustrated or angry at it, but overall I found it to be impressive. It is a thinker story--a good one for discussion.
Read for American Lit class

Another one that I read in my studies of naturalism and it was actually a really fun one to study. It didn't stay with me the way some stories do, but it was fun to pick out symbols and meanings and to write them up, if you are dorky and like to study.
Zoe Tribley
I studied this short story very extensively and even wrote my college research paper on it for American Literature since 1875.
If anyone would like to talk about it or smash on it
let's do it!
I understand why there are sometimes analysis of this story that are longer than the story itself. My copy was 46 pages but managed to pack a punch.
The four men in the tiny rowboat can easily represent four levels of society. Nature starts off hating them (in their minds) and then is finally indifferent. They exist; whether they cease to exist is no matter to Her.
But it is still to the captain they look for guidance; judging when to risk the surf. Already exhausted from rowing and some injuries,
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Stephen Crane was an American novelist, poet and journalist, best known for the novel Red Badge of Courage. That work introduced the reading world to Crane's striking prose, a mix of impressionism, naturalism and symbolism. He died at age 28 in Badenweiler, Baden, Germany.

More about Stephen Crane...
The Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction  Maggie: A Girl of the Streets The Open Boat and Other Stories Maggie: a Girl of the Streets: and Other Tales of New York

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“When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples.” 71 likes
“A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully surmounting one wave you discover another behind it just as important and just as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way of swamping boats. In a ten-foot dinghy one can get an idea of the resources of the sea in the line of waves that is not probable to the average experience, which is never at sea in a dinghy.” 5 likes
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