The Open Boat

by: Stephen Crane

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained
2. This tower . . . represented . . . the serenity of nature amid the struggles of the individual—nature in the wind, and nature in the vision of men. She did not seem cruel to him then, nor beneficent, nor treacherous, nor wise . . . she was indifferent, flatly indifferent.

This passage, from the beginning of section VII, denies the distinction between reality and what man perceives as reality and supports the idea that nature is indifferent to man. Much as the narrator does in section I when describing the picturesque quality of the men in the dinghy when seen from afar, the correspondent uses a new, broad-picture perspective to remove himself from the hostility of his immediate surroundings and take in a larger picture of nature. His consideration of the giant, immovable wind tower in the distance opens him up to the reality that might exist outside himself or the “nature in the wind” that is separate from the “nature in the vision of men.” The main difference between these two natures is that whereas the former works inexplicably within the confines of itself, the latter depends on an intelligent higher power that directs nature’s affairs. The correspondent accepts the possibility of true objective reality, confessing that he is no longer certain that there is a benevolent, rational God at the center of the universe.