The eight cigars that the correspondent finds in his pocket symbolize the random and inexplicable nature of fate. Four of the eight cigars are, inexplicably, completely dry, coincidentally leaving one for each man. There is also no discussion as to why the correspondent suddenly stumbles upon the eight cigars without having known they were in his pocket all along. In the same way, fate is random and often resists simple explanations. In addition, the combination of the four dry cigars with the four wet cigars may also point to the way the men’s outlooks fluctuate between optimism and pessimism throughout the story, as they cycle through feeling exhausted, joyous, relaxed, angry, hopeful, and tenacious.
Cigars Quotes in The Open Boat
The correspondent thought that he had been drenched to the skin, but happening to feel in the top pocket of his coat, he found therein eight cigars. Four of them were soaked with sea-water; four were perfectly scathless.