Stephen Crane Writing Styles in The Open Boat

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Point of View

Perhaps the literary technique most remarked upon by critics of "The Open Boat" is Crane's unusual use of a shifting point of view. The story is told alternatively from the perspective of each of the crew members, as well as from the vantage point of an objective observer. Often, it is not clear whose viewpoint is predominant at a given time. There are passages of dialogue, too, in which the different speakers are never identified. In these ways, the reader is given the sense that all of the crew members share similar feelings about their predicament. There is also the suggestion that their reactions are archetypal and universal; that is, that anyone would respond the same way to what they are going through. The correspondent is the only character whose inner thoughts are clearly identified — perhaps because he, being a writer, has the ability to...

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This section contains 812 words
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Buy The Open Boat Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Open Boat from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.