I understand the external environment in these two short stories is an indifferent universe where men suffer. However, I am having difficulty explaining what "The Open Boat" says about the perceptions and observations of men in a crisis (men facing death)? Also, What does "To Build a Fire" say about man's relationship to Nature? I am having trouble finding places in the stories where the authors communicate an overall message of despair or indifference about man's condition...
However, I am having difficulty explaining what "The Open Boat" says about the perceptions and observations of men in a crisis (men facing death)?
There seem to be numerous stages that people go through when facing a crisis. These stages are not experienced in the same way by all people but it would seem that at some point in the crisis all people experience each stage.
• "I was not prepared or am not prepared for this trial."
Crane discusses how calamities in life do not happen at convenient times. They strike us when we are least prepared for them. Both the correspondent and the oilman are unprepared physically for this life or death test. They are the ones who do nearly all of the rowing through approximately 24 hours of fighting the sea. We are told that neither the correspondent nor the oilman has slept in the past two nights, nor had they eaten a meal the previous night. Additionally, the oilman had put in a double shift just prior to the sinking of the ship. (p.100)
• "I am going to beat this challenge that has been thrown at me."
The perceptions and observations of men in a crisis are examined.