Deal Me In 2020 – Week 2

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This week, I drew the Ace of Spades which was “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane. I was incredibly excited to read this as I loved Crane’s other, more well known work, “The Red Badge of Courage” and this did not disappoint.

The story follows four men after their ship capsized trying to navigate their lifeboat through the ocean to find land. The Captain, Oiler, Cook, and Correspondent are in the same boat (literally and figuratively) as they try to steer their way to survival. Whenever I read stories like this, I am always reminded of the three basic themes of a story: man versus man, man versus nature, and man versus himself. This story covers the latter two as the ocean and Mother Nature do their very best to capsize and drown them. The ultimate battle, however, is against their thoughts:

“‘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?'”

How often have you worked exceptionally hard, saw the end goal in the distance, and wondered how you made it this far only to have something go terribly wrong and put the end goal in jeopardy? I honestly think this happens to me at least once a year and it is so demoralizing. Now imagine having this thought while stranded at sea in a lifeboat that is leaking and trying to make it to shore. Too often, our minds are our own worst enemy.

One thing I found interesting about this story was that this was based on his experience of being shipwrecked in 1897 (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/stephen-crane). Sometimes, the best stories are the ones that are based on true events.

About jenvolk5

Bank auditor by day, trivia and knowledge hound all other times.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Deal Me In 2020 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Deal Me In 2020 – Week 2

  1. Dale says:

    Stephen Crane is such a great writer! I’ve read several of his stories including this one and enjoyed them all. He seems like a precursor to Ernest Hemingway. But I have yet to read The Red Badge of Courage. I keep saying that I’m going to remedy that but I’ve been saying it for years! Maybe this could be the year, who knows?

    • Jay says:

      Good post! I’ve read this one before, but again – many many years ago. I’ve read the Red Badge of Courage more recently, and I think he had another short story titled The Monster that was quite good. Great quotation that you included. That does seem to be a recurring theme for many of my exploits as well.

    • Jay says:

      Oops my other reply was meant to be directly to the post. Sorry. But anyway, I wanted to say that I don’t think TRBoC is that long and it was a pretty easy read, even if the subject matter is somewhat heavy.

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