The Open Boat


Stephen Crane

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Cigars Symbol Analysis

Cigars Symbol Icon

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 The Open Boat quotes below all refer to the symbol of Cigars. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humans vs. Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of The Open Boat published in 1993.
Part III Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Correspondent
Related Symbols: Cigars
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Open Boat PDF

Cigars Symbol Timeline in The Open Boat

The timeline below shows where the symbol Cigars appears in The Open Boat. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part III
Humans vs. Nature Theme Icon
Fate and Mortality Theme Icon
...they ride the “wild colt of a dingey like circus men,” the correspondent finds eight cigars in his pocket. Four of the cigars are soaked, but four are completely dry. Someone... (full context)