The Open Boat Short Summary
The story is a real-life experience of Stephen Crane. In the beginning, 4 men are inside a lifeboat: the captain, a correspondent, a cook, and an oiler. They were in the sea from Florida before their ship sank. They see a lighthouse in a distance ahead. That gives them hope that they are close to land.
As they get closer to the shore, the wave gets stronger, and it becomes harder to steer the boat towards land. The people who are at the shore think those in the boat are just fishermen and do not bother helping them. They spend two nights in the sea with no hope of getting assistance. They row their boat in turns with no surety of survival.
By the second night, there is still no ship to help the sailors. Though the captain tries hard to take the boat towards safety, the strong waves drive it more towards the cold sea. The correspondent is left alone to control the seep at some point. The other men are all asleep. He feels lonely. The correspondent feels that drowning at such a moment would be tragic given the problems that they have endured all along. There is a shark that approaches the boat and makes him scared.
In the morning, they are forced to swim towards the shore as their boat is turned over. Fortunately, rescuers are waiting to help them out. Despite all the tribulations, everyone is safe save for the oiler. The rescuers have blankets and coffee to the great relief of the correspondent and his friends. At night, they all look at the sea and accept that the strength of the wave can sometimes be too strong even for the most experienced sailors. However, they have learned a lesson on how to survive at sea.