Stephen Crane’s “The Open Book”: Determinism, Objectivity, and Pessimism
school of naturalism is used and three of the eight features are most apparent,
These three of the eight features are determinism, objectivity, and pessimism.
environment around him.
Determinism is of course the most obvious of the three features.
The little boat, lifted by each towering sea and splashed viciously by the
crests, made progress that in the absence of seaweed was not apparent to those
in her.? The characters had no control over their boat, rather nature was
totally in control. ?She seemed just a wee thing wallowing, miraculously top up,
totally not important to the natural forces controlling his fate. ?When it
occurs to man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels
she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw
bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply that there are no bricks and no
victim of determinism. Even as he was so close to land and no longer out in the
open sea, nature still takes its role in determining his fate.
The fact that the narrator is the correspondent in itself give an impression on
Then the oiler took both oars; then the correspondent took both oars; then the
oiler; then the correspondent. They rowed and they rowed.? (pg144) Writing
something repeatedly in the manner Crane does in this passage gives the reader a
sense of the repetitiveness and frustration the four main characters faced being
lost out at sea.
Pessimism, in my opinion, is apparent throughout the entire story.
Although the four men do have the will to survive, it always seems as if nature
is always playing the most important role. ? 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
strengthening the fact that a sense of pessimism is present throughout the story
while also expressing the anger the characters feel toward the ever present fate
The entire story in itself is a portrayal not of the conflict between
man and nature, but rather the effect and control nature has on human fate,
strengthening the naturalistic ideas and views through this tale of four
other characteristics of the controlling force are ever present, make, in my
are just the way in which this is brought through to the reader.