The Open Boat with Matias Carreira and Manuel Carrizo
- Why is only the Oiler given a name (Billie)? Why are others only referred to generally?
Because as he dies, they give the Oiler a name for that when he dies it would evoke sympathy. The Oiler always received orders from the captain and it was obvious that they would not refer to him as his profession and refer to him as his real name. Others are referred as their profession because they don’t die, they don’t work too hard and don’t take a lot of orders.
2) Why is it that only the Oiler dies and not anyone else ?
The Oiler dies because he showed that he was weak, because of this, he gave up. He also dies because he couldn’t read life and he sacrifices himself because he didn’t want to fight anymore.
3) What is the view of nature presented in this story?
It is presented that nature can live without humans but humans can’t survive without nature. For example, we can cut down trees but this will cause problems with our climate that will affect us. It is also presented that nature is very powerful and can decide the fate of people.
4) What is the view of the men presented in the this story?
The view of the men presented in this story is:
- The captain: The Brain (leather) the one who thinks and takes decisions.
- The Oiler: The right hand (puts ideas to practice)
- The Cook : hands (worker)
- The Correspondant: a philosopher/ a critical viewpoint
These four men represent the members of a society.
5) How do the men in The Open Boat relate to each other?
The relationship between these men is that they depend on each other. These men also represent a basic society and the members of societies need each other.
6) What “patterns” or “reparations” do you find in the story? How are these important to understanding the story?
Here are some “patterns” that are present is the story:
- Colours: The colours in the story represents the mood and feelings of a part in the story and of the characters. Black, white and gray are always present in the story.
- The change of mood: The mood and feelings change in the story a lot, sometimes the story passes from dark, gloomy and ominous to bright and cheerful.
- Chapters: The story is divided into 7 chapters and this is because, with each chapter the mood changes.
7) Where does the narrator seem to “intrude” into the story? Is this distracting? Is it effective?
We believe that this intrusion in the ending of the story is very distracting and confusing. This makes the ending more confusing because it is very difficult to understand when the narration changes.
8) What do you think about the ending to the story (after we find out that Billie the Oiler dies)? Is it truthful, or the narrator being ironic?
We think that the narrator is trying to tell us to listen to ourselves and not always follow orders blindly. The narrator with the death of the Oiler also tries to tell us to never give up even if we think that dying/failing is our destiny.
9) Why did Crane use the structure he did —- the seven sections with Roman numerals?
Crane used this structure (7 chapters) to tell that the mood changes. With every chapter the mood goes from dark and hopeless to cheerful and hopeful. He used the Roman numerals because he wanted to show when this happen, in the past.
Pathways To Interpretation:
- Consider the biographical context and connections.
This story takes place in the middle of the Pacific Ocean because the Cook wanted to go to Mosquito Inlet, which is in Florida (USA). Maybe the four men come from England as they speak the English language.
2) Consider the historical context and connections.
This story happens during the 19th century because they had a steamboat which sank because the steamboats were only used at that time. They did not have phones to communicate or flare guns to show where they were. It could also be said that their boat had oars and not a motor and that the book was first published in 1897
Patterns in “The Open Boat”:
We chose 1 and 2 to answer.
- Uses and reference to COLOURS:
Crane used three colors to describe different feelings, he uses Black to describe gloomy and depress fully, he uses White to describe happy and hopeful feelings and finally he used Grey to describe loose, depression, neutrality and no emotion.
This story contains many references to nature, often nature is related to destiny and fate. For example, the Correspondant who was angry with nature because it dragged him near the shore to see land and after that dragged him away. Als,o nature is also kind of the enemy to the four men because nature is the one who opposes the men of getting to land, nature is also described as omnipotent to men’s control.
8) Hints or Clues or Foreshadowing about the oiler:
A perfect hint is the poem that talks about the death a soldier dying in a war. The message of this poem is Man vs Nature. The soldier makes reference to The Oiler. Also, another hint is that as The Oiler always accepted orders when he faced death he did not know what to do.
9) References to DEATH or DEAD SLEEP:
In literature to sleep symbolizes death and the oiler always had deep sleeps like here:
“The Oiler and The Cook in the bottom of the boat were plunged in slumber.”
This quote explains that the Oiler and the Cook were near death.
10) The ENDING — are they really “Interpreters”?
At the end of the story the three men finally understood that they were interpreters because nature made them and they also understand why the oiler died and what part he played in society.
“…the wind brought the sound of the great sea’s voice to the men on the shore, and that they could the be interpreters.”
11) Do the men in “The Open Boat” overcome nature, or are they spared by nature?
Nature let them live, nature is stronger than humanity. Humankind never wins the battle against nature for the control of it. If they had won, all of them would have survived but they did not, The Oiler died but nature spared the others.
7) Use of the name BILLIE for the Oiler:
- He’s the only one with / given a name (by Crane)
- He’s the only one who drowns.
The Oiler is the only one who has a name because when he dies we feel sympathy and because he is the only one who receives orders so it would make sense that his comrades would refer to him with his real name, not his profession.
The Oiler dies at the end of the story because he gave up and because he always took orders from the captain so he couldn’t read life or do anything without the captain orders.