The Open Boat


Stephen Crane

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Wind tower Symbol Analysis

Wind tower Symbol Icon

The wind tower symbolizes nature’s power over—and indifference toward—humankind. The correspondent says so directly, calling the tower a “giant standing with its back to the plight of the ants.” By emphasizing the wind tower’s size in comparison to humans, the correspondent draws attention to humankind’s insignificance in the face of nature’s vastness and power. In addition, the wind tower also symbolizes desperation. The correspondent wonders if anyone ever climbs the tall wind tower as if it were a lighthouse and looks out at the sea. The correspondent hopes that this might be the case despite its unlikeliness, wanting to believe that the men have a greater chance of being seen and saved. In this way, the wind tower also symbolizes the resilience (and the naivety) of human hope—which often endures against all odds in the face of nature’s overwhelming power and indifference.

Wind tower Quotes in The Open Boat

The The Open Boat quotes below all refer to the symbol of Wind tower. 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 VII Quotes

A man in this situation […] should see the innumerable flaws of his life, and have them taste wickedly in his mind and wish for another chance. A distinction between right and wrong seems absurdly clear to him […] and he understands that if he were given another opportunity he would mend his conduct and his words, and be better and brighter during an introduction or at a tea.

Related Characters: Correspondent
Related Symbols: Wind tower
Explanation and Analysis:
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Wind tower Symbol Timeline in The Open Boat

The timeline below shows where the symbol Wind tower appears in The Open Boat. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part VII
Humans vs. Nature Theme Icon
...for too much longer, they will waste all their strength. The correspondent looks at a wind tower on the shore and wonders whether anyone ever climbs it and looks out at the... (full context)