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THE OPEN BOAT CommonLit Answers – FREE Access
Find the answer key for the topic “THE OPEN BOAT” below:
Note: Be prepared to share your original ideas in a class discussion.
Discussion Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q1. “The Open Boat” is inspired by the author’s own experience surviving a shipwreck. How, if at all, does this fact affect your reading of the short story?
Ans: This narrative is told from the perspective of a third person. He opts for a narrator to reveal the character’s inner thoughts and emotions. The reader can fully understand what transpired during their effort to survive from this perspective.
Q2. Brotherhood is a key component of the men’s behavior at sea. In the story, where do you see brotherhood at work? How does this component help people survive, both in dire situations and in everyday life?
Ans: Being out at sea together gives them a sense of “subtle fraternity” (3.1). They don’t talk about it much, but it has the same effect on them: it makes them feel strong and gives them a sense of purpose.
The brotherhood comforts them and gives them the strength to continue together. The men’s actions as comrades throughout the novel support the premise that they recognize and admit that nature is powerful, but their camaraderie surely aids them in coping with their situation.
Q3. In the context of the story, who is in control: man or nature? How do the men’s perceptions of nature change throughout the story?
Ans: Despite their best efforts, mankind has little control over nature, as “The Open Boat” continually proves. Throughout the novel, the four men must navigate their little lifeboat through severe waters against the elements in order to survive—a battle they are clearly losing.
Assessment Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q.1. How is the first paragraph of the story important to the passage as a whole?
Ans: It focuses on the danger of the ocean as insurmountable.
Q.2. How does paragraph 11 contribute to the development of the narrator’s point of view?
Ans: It shows the men’s predicament from a different, more picturesque perspective, contrasting and emphasizing the terrible situation in which the men find themselves.
Q.3. Which of the following best summarizes how the men interact with each other?
Ans: The men love each other to the point of sacrificing themselves for one another
Q.4. In paragraph 44, how does the narrator describe their time at sea and the impact it has had on everyone, especially the correspondent?
Ans: In paragraph 44, the narrator describes their time at sea and the impact it has had on everyone, especially the correspondent. The narrator likely provides details about the challenges and experiences they faced while at sea, which may have been difficult or intense. Additionally, they may discuss how these experiences affected each person emotionally and mentally.
Specifically, for the correspondent, there may be a focus on how these experiences changed or shaped him in some way. The narrator’s description in this paragraph likely gives insight into the transformative nature of their time at sea and its significance for all involved.
Q.5. “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 seven mad gods who rule the sea, was I allowed to come thus far and contemplate sand and trees?â€? What does this repetition (in paragraph 71, paragraph 144, and paragraph 173) contribute to the tone and overall piece?
Ans: Through the repetition of this line, the author is trying to convey his indifference and anger towards fate. By repeating “If I am going to be drowned—If I am going to be drowned— If I am going to be drowned” the author is trying to show the readers that the men in the story are frustrated and angry. In the first instance where they say this line, they are questioning why fate allowed them to survive and get this far if she will only let them die in the end. Through these lines, the author shows that the speaker is angry with the situation and the fact that they are helpless about it but, they still continue to struggle and fight against it.
In the second and third time when the speaker repeats these lines, the author is trying to set the tone wherein the men are now weaker and losing the will to survive. However, just like the first time they say these lines, they are angry, frustrated, and confused about the absurdity of the situation. They are still asking why they have to struggle and work so hard if they will only die in the end. In these last two situations, the tone is much weaker and their drive to live is lesser as compared with the first one. But despite this, they continue to rant about the unfairness of life and show that they are still not willing to accept it.
In repeating these lines in the story, the author is trying to show the readers the tone and progress of the story. It depicted how the mental states of the men changed throughout the story. In the beginning, he revealed that though they are angry about what happened to them, we can feel from them that they are willing to fight in order to survive. However, as the story progresses, the men grow weaker physically and mentally, thus we can now feel that in these two situations, they show anger and frustration but unlike the first time, they have less willpower to continue fighting.
Q.6. What does the incident with the shark in Part V reveal about the correspondent’s and captain’s points of view in this passage?
Ans: The shark prompts the captain to attempt rowing to shore, while the tired correspondent seems content with the predator circling them.
Q.7. PART A: Which of the following best explains the meaning and significance of the poem quoted in paragraph 179?
Ans: The poem describes a man dying alone, which is how the correspondent feels even though he is surrounded by three other men.
Q.8. PART B: How does the correspondent’s attitude towards the soldier in the poem change?
Ans: He becomes more aware of the soldier’s death in the poem as a truly human thing, a description of suffering to which he was indifferent as a young man.
Q.9. PART A: How does the description of the windmill in paragraphs 201-203 contribute to the central ideas of the text?
Ans: The windmill is described as towering and disinterested, contributing to the idea of an indifferent universe.
Q.10. PART B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “On the distant dunes were set many little black cottages, and a tall white windmill reared above them.” (Paragraph 202)
Q.11. Which of the following best explains the author’s purpose in naming only one character?
Ans: The author names him as a way of marking him as different, letting the audience know from the beginning that he is the protagonist.
Q.12. PART A: Select TWO choices from the list below that best identify the themes of the story.
Ans: Man versus Nature & Brotherhood or community
Q.13. PART B: Which of the following passages best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: Paragraph 143
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In CommonLit, “THE OPEN BOAT ” is one of the students’ favorite short stories authored by Stephen Crane for grade 11 students.
His short story “The Open Boat” is based on his own experiences: in 1896, en route to Cuba, his vessel the SS Commodore sank off the coast of Florida, and he and a few other survivors were left adrift in a dinghy (boat).
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