American Literature Essay Sample: The Open Boat and To Build a Fire

Published: 2022-08-26
American Literature Essay Sample: The Open Boat and To Build a Fire
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  Karl Marx American literature
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 542 words
5 min read

Part One: Compose a paragraph that applies a Marxist reading to any of the stories from this week. Be sure to ask yourself (and answer) the kinds of questions discussed in this week's lecture.

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In the application of Marxist reading on the short story "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane helps widen the understanding of the communalists of the characters. The four protagonists of the story the captain, the correspondent, the oiler, and the cook survived after a shipwreck in the sea and are struggling to get ashore in a dinghy. Applying the classification of the four main men in the story based on their social standing shows that the captain is the shipmaster, a crew leader and a man of the upper class, while the correspondent is the narrator or the voice eying the portrayal of the author's intention. The correspondent is of little faith and no understanding of the purpose of life and nature. The cook in the story is the follower and the lower class representation on the ship, on the other hand, the oiler is the working class of the quadrant belonging to the middle-class category of the characters. Although the four men belonged to different Marxists positioning in their history, their present situation did not allow them to show their seniority of the social hierarchy but they are friends (Crane 106).

Part Two: Which of the characters this week did you feel the most sympathy for? Who did you most identify with? Why? Who did you feel the least sympathy for? Why?

In the short narrative "To build a Fire" by Jack London sympathy goes to the dog because despite its zeal in its duties due to the men's failure to give an ear to the dog's situation to endure freezing weather. The dog is regarded as man's best friend despite the flaws of man wrongdoing in making the trip. The situation the dog is compromised from doing its usual duties in saving the man. The man acts without considerations of all facts surrounding the situation of the day makes him earn little sympathy in the story despite turning a deaf ear to the advice from the old man.

Part Three: In "The Open Boat," lines of philosophy about man's fate and his reward for trying hard are repeated throughout. Quote a line of this story that stands out to you as expressing something philosophical about life. Do you agree with the statement? Why or why not?

In this quote "Shipwrecks are apropos of nothing. If men could only train for them and have they occurred when the men had reached pink condition, there would be less drowning at sea...." (Crane 106). The philosophical analysis shows that the integration of man and nature in the sea and other compromising situations cannot be predicted. The unpredictability of nature does not accommodate man's training or coaching to ensure adaption or avoid obstacles. However, the quote is geared to encourage determination to soldier and fight on to overcome the natural calamities of life situations.

Works cited

Crane, Stephen. The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure. New York: Doubleday & McClure Co., 1898.

London, Jack. "To Build a Fire". American Literature Since the Civil War - 2015 edition, 1st Edition. McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions,

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