First American edition of The Open Boat, illustrated by Will H. First published in 1897, it was based on Crane’s experience of surviving a shipwreck off the coast of Florida earlier that year while traveling to Cuba to work as a newspaper correspondent. Crane was stranded at sea for open boat stephen crane pdf hours when his ship, the SS Commodore, sank after hitting a sandbar. Billie Higgins, drowned after the boat overturned.
Crane’s personal account of the shipwreck and the men’s survival, titled “Stephen Crane’s Own Story”, was first published a few days after his rescue. Crane subsequently adapted his report into narrative form, and the resulting short story “The Open Boat” was published in Scribner’s Magazine. The story is told from the point of view of an anonymous correspondent, with Crane as the implied author, the action closely resembles the author’s experiences after the shipwreck. The Open Boat and Other Stories was published simultaneously in England.
Praised for its innovation by contemporary critics, the story is considered an exemplary work of literary Naturalism, and is one of the most frequently discussed works in Crane’s canon. It is notable for its use of imagery, irony, symbolism, and the exploration of such themes as survival, solidarity, and the conflict between man and nature. Hired by the Bacheller newspaper syndicate to serve as a war correspondent during the Cuban insurrection against Spain, the 25-year-old Stephen Crane boarded the filibustering steamship SS Commodore on New Year’s Eve, 1896. The ship sailed from Jacksonville, Florida, with 27 or 28 men and a cargo of supplies and ammunition for the Cuban rebels.
Jacksonville, Commodore struck a sandbar in a dense fog and damaged its hull. Although towed off the sandbar the following day, it was again beached in Mayport, Florida, and further damaged. As the ship took on more water, Crane described the engine room as resembling “a scene at this time taken from the middle kitchen of Hades. Commodore’s lifeboats were lowered in the early hours of the morning on January 2, 1897, and the ship sank at 7 a.
Florida for a day and a half before attempting to land their craft at Daytona Beach. Crane was reunited with his partner, Cora, several days after the ordeal, and quickly wrote his initial report of the sinking while waiting in Jacksonville for another ship.
Desperate for work, he soon left for New York to secure a job covering the impending Greco-Turkish War. Crane completed the story that would become “The Open Boat” a few weeks later, in mid-February. According to fellow correspondent Ralph D.
Paine, Crane had the opportunity to show the first draft of the short story to Murphy when Crane again passed through Jacksonville. When Crane asked his opinion, Murphy allegedly replied, “You’ve got it, Steve That is just how it happened, and how we felt.