The Microcosm In Stephen Crane's An Open Boat

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When we live our lives, we never know who we truly are until a tragic event has overtaken us tragically. In the story “An Open Boat,” by Stephen Crane, a group of men survives a shipwreck and battle the waves in hopes of landing safely on the shore. Throughout the story, the group of men figure out who they truly are, and through their struggle, they develop a microcosm of society. This microcosm and how it formed among the group of men can be easily broken down by the moral development scale that was created by Lawrence Kohlberg, which identifies people in a society as one of three different types of thinkers. Therefore, the microcosm of society has developed among the men since the Captain is a pre-conventional thinker, the oiler and the…show more content…
The Correspondent is the person on the life boat who delves into reason and why he should participate in this society that the men created. He often tries to find ways to justify his actions through a process called unitarianism, which falls under post-conventional thinking. When using unitarianism, a person measures the greatest net happiness for all by comparing pleasure and pains of a situation (Boss, 234). In this case, when observing the situation within the story, the Correspondent weighs the benefits by either participating in the rowing for the survival of himself and others or by not rowing and potentially harm the well being of others. With weighing out the benefits, he decides that the best thing to do is to row since there will be a greater net happiness for everyone. Additionally, as a post-conventional thinker, the Correspondent was able to find a balance between his own interest and the other interest (Boss, 95). He was able to balance this by rowing the boat at some points, but backed away from rowing to make himself conformable, but not making others needs interfere with him. A post-conventional thinker is seen as the pinnacle of development, and the Correspondent was one of the few to achieve this great accomplishment by using unitarianism to weigh the benefits and by also finding a balance between the needs of himself and

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