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Comparison and Contrast of "to Build a Fire" and "the Open Boat".

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Comparison and Contrast of "To Build a Fire" and "The Open Boat".

Stephen Crane, the author of the story The Open Boat was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1871. He was the youngest of fourteen kids born to his mom and dad, Jonathon Townley Crane and Mary Helen Peck Crane. When he got a bit older he moved from New York to become a war correspondent and eventually moved to England. While covering the Cuban Revolution in 1897 he got shipwrecked and was stuck out at sea off the coast of Florida and was stranded for thirty hours at sea with three other men who eventually rowed to shore in a small life raft. After writing an article about this he was influenced to write a fictional piece about it and it later turned out to be one of his best short stories to date. He later died at age 28 due to tuberculosis. Jack London is the author of To Build a Fire was an American journalist and author has created numerous novels. His best works include White Fang, Call of the Wild apart from To Build a Fire.

The concept evident in both stories is naturalism. Naturalism is defined as described by literary critic Donna Campbell is a type of literature that attempts to apply scientific principles of objectivity and detachment to its study of human beings. Unlike realism, which focuses on literary technique, naturalism implies a philosophical position: for naturalistic writers, since human beings are, in Emile Zola's phrase, "human beasts," characters can be studied through their relationships to their surroundings."

These two stories show how inferior we are to the forces of nature. In both these stories it shows that man does not have a free will and cannot control the outcome of nature as evident in both stories nature had mapped out their fate. In both stories man is trapped in the force of nature. In Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat", it tells of four men shipwreck and is now stuck on the ocean in a ten foot dinghy. They cannot do anything about their situation as the seas had decided their fate of destroying the ship they were on and now they are stuck in a small boat riding the rough waves. In Jack London's "To Build a Fire", it shows also another individual who is stuck in the Yukon facing diverse snow conditions in which he cannot change his condition but rather has to try and endure the rough times that are facing him. Also it shows to its reader two different settings as in "The Open Boat" its setting is based upon the seas and its treacherous waters compared to "To Build a Fire" where the setting is based in treacherous stormy weather which hinders the character. Both stories intertwine as the characters are hopeful that they are going to be rescued from their situation. The characters in "The Open Boat" talks of the lifesaving people are going to come to get them from the House of Refuge.



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