Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat”
1. How long is the boat on which the four depend for their survival?
2. What point of view is used in “The Open Boat”?
3. Consider Kennedy’s question #7 (p. 218): “Why does the scrap of verse about the soldier dying in Algiers (paragraph 178) suddenly come to mean so much to the correspondent?”
4. Consider the first sentence of “The Open Boat”: “None of them knew the color of the sky.” And the conclusion:
When it came night, the white waves paced to and fro in the moonlight, and the wind brought the sound of the great sea’s voice to the men on the shore, and they felt that they could then be interpreters.
What do these lines reveal?
5. Consider Kennedy’s questions #8 and #9 (p. 218): “What theme in ‘The Open Boat’ seems most important to you? Where is it stated?”; “What secondary themes also enrich the story? See for instance paragraph 43 (the thoughts on comradeship).”
Ernest Hemingway, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
1. Hemingway’s short story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” has been celebrated for the author’s handling of point of view. What kind of narrator does Hemingway use?
2. What is the “Nothing” that preoccupies the old waiter?
3. Why doesn’t the young waiter feel sympathetic toward the old man?
4. Writing about the symbolism in this story, Kennedy notes that,
at the heart of the story is the symbol of the cafe, an island of light and order surrounded by night and nothingness. Contrasting images of light and darkness begin in the opening paragraph: the old man, not entirely committed either to death or to life, likes to sit in the shadow of the leaves.
Where else is light used to tell this story? What does it symbolize?
Ambrose Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
1. What point of view does Bierce use in this story?
2. Why is Peyton Farquhar to be executed?
3. What has Bierce done with time in this story?
4. What clues does Bierce provide to suggest that Peyton Farquhar’s escape is an illusion?
5. What seems more significant here, the theme of the story or the effect that Bierce is trying to create?
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University