The Open Boat


Stephen Crane

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Waving man Character Analysis

The waving man is a tourist who mistakes the four shipwreck survivors for a group of fishermen. He cheerfully waves hello to the men with his coat, unaware of the men’s desperation. His waving is a cause for a debate among the men, as they try to glean meaning from his movements, hoping that he is signaling them to wherever the nearest life-saving station is. When the men finally realize his waving is meaningless, they are angry at him for being so oblivious to their suffering.
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Waving man Character Timeline in The Open Boat

The timeline below shows where the character Waving man appears in The Open Boat. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part IV
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
Someone notices a man standing on the shore, waving. Someone else exclaims that they are certain to be saved... (full context)
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
Certainty and Uncertainty  Theme Icon
The men think the waving man on the shore is now waving a flag. After further argumentation, they realize he is... (full context)