Our American Stories episode for this week is Stephen Crane’s ‘The Open Boat.‘ In this story, we learn about the experience Crane had after his ship sank on to way to Cuba. He was on the ship SS Commodore, a steamship. He left from Jacksonville, Florida, on December 31, 1896. Crane was going to report on the war in Cuba. The ship sank on January 2, 1897. Crane and three other men got into a 3-meter-long dinghy. They only reached land 30 hours later.
In the story, we find that the men help each other row the boat and give each other emotional support. I thought as I read this story, “Who would I like to be in my lifeboat?” I imagined what it would be like if a was on a ship that sank. How would I survive in a small boat in the ocean?
Stephen Crane was in a lifeboat with the captain of the SS Commodore, the cook, and a sailor. The captain was good at finding the right direction for the boat to go. The sailor was good at rowing.
In my imaginary lifeboat, I would like someone with strong arms who could row and steer the boat. Also, I would like someone with a cheerful outlook on life to keep the rest of us from being too sad. And I would like someone who could sing, to pass the hours as we waited for rescue.
I hope I always travel on a boat with my husband, because he would have all of these qualities. So I would make sure to get in the same lifeboat as my husband.
How about you? Write in the comments about the people or person you would most like to be with in a lifeboat.
Dr. Jill Robbins