Study Guide

The Open Boat Section 5

By Stephen Crane

Section 5

  • Billie gets really heated and yells at the cook not to talk about food.The cook responds by mumbling something about ham sandwiches. He's making ushungry, too.
  • Throughout the night, the oarsman tries to keep water from entering the boat. Sometimes he fails, and cold water soaks the men.
  • The oiler and correspondent take turns rowing. While one man rows, the other man sleeps.
  • The waves aren't so strong anymore. It's quiet.
  • The correspondent asks the captain if he should aim for a light to the north. He isn't sure the captain is awake. The captain's voice, steady as ever, says yes.
  • The narrator mentions that the cook is wearing a life preserver. This might seem like a pretty mundane detail, but take note of this; it'll be important later.
  • As the correspondent is rowing, he moves in the wrong direction, which leads a wave to crash into the boat. Luckily, nobody is upset at his mistake.
  • The correspondent continues rowing, and sees a flash of movement in the water. It's a shark—eek.
  • He looks over at the captain, who seems to be asleep. He looks at the oiler and the cook. They're definitely asleep.
  • The funny thing is, he's already in such a rough spot, seeing the shark doesn't scare him as much as it would if he were, say, "a picnicker" (5.22). He just curses softly, and wishes he didn't have to face the shark all alone.
  • The shark stays close to the boat. It looks very strong, and very dangerous. Which makes sense because, you know, it's a shark.

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