Supremacy In The Open Boat

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Man’s Supremacy – Undermined and Reevaluated Man is forever struggling against man, fate, the invincible threat of nature and the universe for supremacy. Man’s continuous arrogant belief that human intellect automatically denotes absolute leadership and control in the universe is egotistical. In Stephen Crane’s short story, “The Open Boat,” the central theme, an epic battle of man against nature, exposes the illusion of man’s supremacy. It is within this theme that Crane endeavors to provide a visual of man’s limited and misguided perspective of nature. As survivors of a shipwreck, a group of men doggedly attempts to row a small boat to shore amidst turbulent waves and currents. This conflict questions whether, shear strength of…show more content…
As the struggle to survive ensues, the men perceive nature as an entity with evil intent. This can be seen in their reflection of the gulls flying ever closer to the dingy, “At these times they were uncanny and sinister in their unblinking scrutiny, and the men hooted angrily at them, telling them to be gone” (341). The need to rationalize and direct the anger and anxiety upon inanimate objects expresses how deeply fear has eroded control. As a result, the turbulent ocean waves and winds becomes a predator violently taunting, “There was a preparatory and long growl in the speech of them” (345). Nature is seen as a malignant entity attempting to unjustly displace man from undisputed supremacy. It is only nearing the completion of this struggle that man becomes aware of nature’s indifference, nature does not consider man at all; it is oblivious to the life and death struggle taking place. There is no fate or destiny, nor need to battle for supremacy, only a continuing evaluation of

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