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The Open Boat

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  2,084 Ratings  ·  101 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 1897)
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Great short story on survival - Man vs. Nature

I saw this gem on Hoopla and decided to listen to The Open Boat as I had recently finished reading another of Stephen Crane's stories, The Red Badge of Courage. I am so glad that I took the time to discover this work!

This is a story of four men in a dinghy -- The Captain, The Cook, The Correspondent, and The Oiler. These men are the only survivors from a ship that has sunk. The men are tired and the ocean is rough. The mood goes from despair to hop
Sana R. Gondal
Mar 01, 2013 Sana R. Gondal rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 26, 2016 Amina rated it really liked it
This is the story of four men, a wounded captain, an oiler, a correspondant and a cook who spent three days in icy waters in a ten-foot tall dinghy after a shipwreck .
The descriptions of the sea, its colors and waves, feelings, states of mind, fatigue, physical and mental exhaustion as the hours pass is splendid.
The four men came in sight of shore but a reef prevents them from mooring, almost dying from fatigue, they jump in the waters and take their chance, on land, help arrives but at what co
Apr 28, 2016 Sketchbook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Crane, age 26, throws you into a dinghy (which serves as a lifeboat) for 4 survivors (including himself) of a steamboat that sank off the coast of Florida. Crane (1871-1900) is not a "Buried" writer, but he is a forgotten, neglected one, which is a pity. His simple, objective -- detached -- writing influenced Hemingway. Did anyone remember Crane when Hem published in the '20s ? (No!) ~ Clearly, Crane is a key American voice, but I wonder if he's even read in college lit classes today - ...more
Luís C.
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.
Apr 21, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-fiction
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
Celine Parker
Mar 05, 2011 Celine Parker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 25, 2014 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: purely-academic
Completely adequate as a short story about three men stranded in a boat.
Jun 21, 2014 Dan rated it it was amazing
"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
Dec 16, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
"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
Zephren Milentz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe Holley
Aug 07, 2014 Joe Holley rated it it was amazing
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
Răzvan Molea
Aug 20, 2015 Răzvan Molea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Indiferenta nemiloasa a naturii creaza o relatie subtila, dar puternica de camaraderie intre membrii unui echipaj maritim.

"Acest turn era un gigant, stand cu spatele intors la necazul furnicilor. Reprezenta, intr-o anumita masura, pentru corespondent, seninatatea naturii in mijlocul chinurilor omului."

Indiferenta naturii apare atat de covarsitoare, incat frumusetea marii si a apusurilor - descrise abil de Crane - nu trezeste niciunuia dintre membrii echipajului vreo impresie.
Catherine Limbsombe
Sep 20, 2013 Catherine Limbsombe rated it really liked it
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,


Nov 29, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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.
J-kwon Stanley
Feb 01, 2016 J-kwon Stanley rated it it was amazing
Read this for an American Lit class. Wow! What a great story told so briefly. I feel like this book captured what I love about Joseph Conrad's writing, but in a nutshell. Conrad and Crane were alive at the same time, I wonder if they had any correspondence with each other? This story really makes me want to explore naturalism as a genre. Great read, recommend to anybody.
Jana Tenbrook (LeggingsAreNeverPants)
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.
Michael Browne
Apr 25, 2015 Michael Browne rated it it was amazing
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.

Feb 08, 2012 Phillip rated it it was amazing
This story describes the experience of men in a boat during a storm. The thoughts of the cook are particularly memorable.
Nov 18, 2015 Baily rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2017 Jack rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Adams
Jan 23, 2017 Michelle Adams rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in sea tales.
I'm usually not one for sea stories—I hate the ocean and I'm afraid of boats (I couldn't swim for most of my was scary)—but this one was actually exceptionally engrossing for this time period. While it was a little longer than other short stories of the time, I found that it wasn't hard to keep the pages turning. I also appreciated Crane's decision to divide this into parts—I assume because he published this serially—as it helped the overall flow of the story.

I also appreciated the dep
Rylie Clark
Oct 25, 2016 Rylie Clark rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ade Olakiitan
Feb 17, 2017 Ade Olakiitan rated it liked it
I went through the most detached experience not because I wanted to but for how it pulled me in.
Michael Galdamez
*Disclaimer: Read an online version that was printed out for school*

A short, gripping, and powerful tale. Not a believer in the proposed worldview, but found it fascinating nonetheless.
Hannah Love
Feb 06, 2017 Hannah Love rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-major
Literally just read about men trying to make it to shore for an hour. That was literally the whole plotline.
Evelina Rumenova
Feb 11, 2017 Evelina Rumenova rated it it was amazing
A quick and enjoyable read. It held me in suspense until the very end.
Jan 05, 2017 Gina rated it it was amazing
Another great American classic by the author of Red Badge of Courage. A fictionalized account of his own experience as a shipwreck survivor.
Kimberly Erskine
May 27, 2012 Kimberly Erskine rated it did not like it
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
E. Elizabeth
Dec 22, 2014 E. Elizabeth rated it liked it
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
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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.

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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.” 85 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.” 6 likes
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