Best 23 “The Open Boat” Quotes
Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” is a gripping short story that explores the themes of survival, camaraderie, and the indifference of nature. Published in 1897, the story is based on Crane’s personal experience of being stranded at sea for several days. Throughout the narrative, Crane weaves powerful and thought-provoking quotes that capture the essence of the characters’ struggles and the harsh reality they face. In this article, we have compiled the best 23 quotes from “The Open Boat” that encapsulate the story’s emotional depth and philosophical musings.
1. “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.” – This quote reflects the characters’ realization of their insignificance in the face of nature’s vastness.
2. “It was a fine part of the ocean to drown in.” – This line highlights the irony and tragic nature of their situation, as they find themselves surrounded by beauty in the midst of their struggle for survival.
3. “None of them knew the color of the sky.” – This quote emphasizes the characters’ preoccupation with their immediate survival, as they are too consumed by their circumstances to appreciate the natural beauty around them.
4. “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?” – This quote showcases the characters’ frustration and disbelief at the cruel hand fate has dealt them.
5. “Funny they didn’t come out and tell us we were going to fight.” – This line highlights the characters’ stoic acceptance of their situation, as they recognize the futility of questioning the motives of nature.
6. “Then a change, a slant of light on the water, and the boat lifted. A low, distant, whispered call came to the men. It was indecisive and there was a peculiar quality of hesitation in it.” – This quote captures the moment of hope that flickers within the characters as they perceive a potential rescue.
7. “The wind slowly died away. The cook and the correspondent rowed on. Then a breeze sprang up astern.” – This line depicts the characters’ constant battle against the unpredictable forces of nature, as they navigate through calm and storm alike.
8. “The oiler was ahead in the race. He was swimming strongly and rapidly. Toward the end, it was difficult to see what was happening to the men who were less strong.” – This quote exemplifies the characters’ determination and resilience, as they push themselves to their physical limits in their struggle to survive.
9. “The bird was beginning to flutter. Its eyes were only half closed, and its wings were fluttering with a feeble and tremulous motion.” – This line symbolizes the fragility of life and the fleeting nature of hope, as the characters witness the dying struggle of a bird.
10. “A seat in this boat was not unlike a seat upon a bucking broncho, and by the same token a broncho is not much smaller.” – This quote vividly illustrates the characters’ physical discomfort and the relentless challenges they face while aboard the small boat.
11. “It would be difficult to describe the subtle brotherhood of men that was here established on the seas.” – This line highlights the camaraderie that develops among the characters, as they rely on each other for emotional support and survival.
12. “The boat bounced from one top to another. It was delirious with joy. The men had visions of a coke and a bottle of beer with the foam upon it.” – This quote depicts the characters’ moments of respite and the glimmers of joy they experience amidst their hardships.
13. “The wind brought the sound of the great sea’s voice to the men on the shore.” – This line emphasizes the powerful presence of the sea and its ability to both terrify and mesmerize those who encounter it.
14. “A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully surmounting one wave, you discover that there is another behind it just as important and just as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way of swamping boats.” – This quote humorously highlights the treacherous and unpredictable nature of the sea, as the characters are constantly faced with new challenges.
15. “The sunshine made the lumpy waves glitter like chopped glass, and they were cold to the touch.” – This line beautifully captures the juxtaposition between the beauty of nature and its harsh, unforgiving reality.
16. “None of them knew the color of the sky.” – This quote symbolizes the characters’ detachment from the world they once knew, as they are consumed by their immediate struggle for survival.
17. “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?” – This quote reflects the characters’ frustration and disbelief at their cruel fate, questioning the purpose of their journey and the meaning of their impending demise.
18. “There was a long silence. To the correspondent, it was as if he had been tied to the ground for an endless time, with the waves now licking his feet, and then retiring, and coming back again, and then retiring.” – This line captures the characters’ sense of timelessness and the monotony of their struggle, as they are trapped in a never-ending cycle of hope and despair.
19. “He thought: ‘I am going to drown? Can it be possible? Can it be possible? Can it be possible?’ Perhaps an individual must consider his own death to be the final phenomenon of nature.” – This quote reflects the characters’ existential contemplations and their realization of the inevitability of death.
20. “The birds sat comfortably in groups, and they were envied by some in the dingey, for the wrath of the sea was no more to them than it was to a covey of prairie chickens a thousand miles inland.” – This line highlights the characters’ envy of the birds’ freedom and their longing for the safety and comfort that seems unattainable in their current situation.
21. “But there was a sufficiency of joy in the fact that the men were still able to trust. They had taken a step beyond the veil.” – This quote showcases the characters’ resilience and their ability to find solace in their shared struggle, as they rely on each other for support and hope.
22. “The wind began to blow. The cook and the correspondent rowed. The injured captain, in the bow, occasionally uttered a sharp, needless command.” – This line depicts the characters’ determination and their refusal to succumb to despair, as they continue to fight against the elements.
23. “The oiler’s head was on his breast making dull, muffled sounds. In the bottom of the boat the cook’s head lay forward.” – This quote symbolizes the characters’ exhaustion and their eventual surrender to the forces of nature, as they succumb to their inevitable fate.
Q: What is the theme of “The Open Boat”?
A: The main themes of “The Open Boat” include the indifference of nature, the fragility of human life, and the camaraderie that develops in the face of adversity.
Q: Is “The Open Boat” based on a true story?
A: Yes, “The Open Boat” is loosely based on Stephen Crane’s personal experience of being stranded at sea for several days.
Q: What is the significance of the open boat in the story?
A: The open boat symbolizes the characters’ vulnerability and their struggle against the uncontrollable forces of nature.
Q: What is the meaning of the title “The Open Boat”?
A: The title “The Open Boat” refers to the characters’ physical and metaphorical vulnerability, as they are exposed to the elements and left to fend for themselves in an unforgiving environment.
Q: What is the tone of “The Open Boat”?
A: The tone of “The Open Boat” is somber and contemplative, reflecting the characters’ existential musings and their battle against the indifference of nature.
Q: What does the bird symbolize in “The Open Boat”?
A: The bird symbolizes the characters’ own struggle for survival and their fleeting hope in the face of adversity.
In conclusion, “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane is a powerful and thought-provoking short story that delves into the themes of survival, camaraderie, and the indifference of nature. Through its poignant quotes, the story captures the characters’ struggles and the harsh reality they face, leaving a lasting impact on readers.