Maybe he ain't waving it. Presently the cook remarked that he had seen it. They've seen us now, and it won't be long before they'll come chasing out after us. They carry the oiler's body onto the beach. Now, in the clear light of day, the men begin to grasp the full gravity of their situation. If she has decided to drown me, why did she not do it in the beginning and save me all this trouble.
The man at the oars could not be prevented from turning his head rather often to try for a glimpse of this little grey shadow. Four scowling men sat in the dingey and surpassed records in the invention of epithets. The monstrous in-shore rollers heaved the boat high until the men were again enabled to see the white sheets of water scudding up the slanted beach. Just giving us a merry hand. Whereupon the three were silent, save for a trifle of hemming and hawing.
The shadows on the sea slowly deepened. Most of the action occurs inside the narrator's head, as he begins to question everything he thought he knew about life, the universe, and all sorts of other existential stuff. They were traveling, apparently, neither one way nor the other. Billie, will you spell me? Insignificance is described as being a lack of importance. It struck him even then as an event in gymnastics, and a true miracle of the sea. Under the influence of this expansion doubt and direful apprehension was leaving the minds of the men. The men continue to fear each crashing wave that threatens to sink their dingy.
The shore was set before him like a bit of scenery on a stage, and he looked at it and understood with his eyes each detail of it. A young man thinks doggedly at such times. The immaculate power of the ocean is very indifferent to the small boat, just as our great universe could not care less for man. Looking around for his friends, he sees the oiler far ahead of the others, swimming quickly to shore. Also, drama can be used to describe real events, and is often heard in news reports. Now, in the clear light of day, the men begin to grasp the full gravity of their situation.
The cook bails out the water from the bottom of the boat. There was no longer to be heard the slash of the cut-water, and there was no longer the flame of the long trail. But the captain laughed in a way that expressed humor and tragedy all in one. On the other hand, the ethics of their condition was decidedly against any open suggestion of hopelessness. The captain, cook, and correspondent survive the ordeal, but the oiler dies, suggesting that this world assigns fate to humans arbitrarily.
What do you suppose they are doing with an omnibus? The cook and the correspondent argue about the difference between a 'lifesaving station' and a 'house of refuge. The manner of her scramble over these walls of water is a mystic thing, and, moreover, at the top of them were ordinarily these problems in white water, the foam racing down from the summit of each wave, requiring a new leap, and a leap from the air. A squall, marked by dingy clouds, and clouds brick-red, like smoke from a burning building, appeared from the south-east. Each time a man could wrest his attention from the rollers, he turned his glance toward the shore, and in the expression of the eyes during this contemplation there was a singular quality. The men see this as a sinister, insulting gesture, but the captain cannot swat the bird off because the sudden movement would likely topple the boat.
The captain decides that no one is coming to save them, so they should try to make it to shore on their own while they still have the strength to swim. These waves were of the hue of slate, save for the tops, which were of foaming white, and all of the men knew the colors of the sea. His sleeves were rolled over his fat forearms, and the two flaps of his unbuttoned vest dangled as he bent to bail out the boat. The four men in the boat hope that the people on land will send a bigger boat out to rescue them, but that does not happen. The sun swung steadily up the sky, and they knew it was broad day because the color of the sea changed from slate to emerald-green, streaked with amber lights, and the foam was like tumbling snow. Most of the people on board got into lifeboats. The correspondent plainly saw the soldier.
But no, she cannot mean to drown me. The streaked saffron in the west passed before the all-merging darkness, and the sea to the east was black. Although the story is based on Crane's real experience of surviving a shipwreck off the coast of Florida, 'The Open Boat' is a fictional tale. The bird flew parallel to the boat and did not circle, but made short sidelong jumps in the air in chicken-fashion. The light in the north still glimmered, but it was apparently no nearer to the boat. Two men huddled in the stern, and distances were so magnificent in the dingey that the rower was enabled to keep his feet partly warmed by thrusting them under his companions. Although steady, it was, deep with mourning, and of a quality beyond oration or tears.