por Stephen Crane
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The 1972 Andes Flight Disaster
- CommonLit Staff
In 1972, a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the remote Andes mountains, forcing the young men to resort to dire measures to survive. Instead of resigning to starvation (and perhaps, listening to their superego), they chose to engage in cannibalism.Pair “The 1972 Andes Flight Disaster” with “The Open Boat” and ask students to compare the similarities in the experiences of the men. How does each text portray nature, and man’s relationship with it?
The Law of Life
- Jack London
An old man is left behind by his tribe to die of exposure. As he prepares for death, he reflects on a life spent fighting nature's brutal forces.Pair “The Law of Life” with “The Open Boat” and ask students to do an in-depth analysis of theme and style. How does the theme “man vs. nature” emerge in each text?
- H.G. Wells
In this short story by English science fiction author Herbert George Wells, the people of Earth witness the birth of a new “star” and the destruction that follows this phenomenon.Pair “The Open Boat” with “The Star” and ask students to discuss the force of nature depicted in each piece. What type of brotherhood forms among the survivors?
- Samuel Scoville, Jr.
In this short story by American writer Samuel Scoville, Jr., a young Caribbean boy accompanied by his grandfather goes sponge diving in the reef where a tiger shark killed his father—and where he faces dangers of his own.Pair “The Open Boat” with “The Reef” and ask students to discuss how each author depicts the ocean.
Will We ‘Fix’ The Weather? Yes. Should We Fix The Weather? Hmmm
- Robert Krulwich
NPR science correspondent Robert Krulwich discusses the extraordinary, unsettling possibility that humans will soon be able to regulate the earth’s climate at will.Pair “Will We ‘Fix’ The Weather? Yes. Should We Fix The Weather? Hmmm” with “The Open Boat” and ask students to think about how Crane’s story supports or contradicts Krulwich’s discussion of the relationship between human beings and their environment. How does the story take up the question of whether humans can or should actively control nature, on a small or large scale? Are human beings truly able to conquer and regulate nature via technological advances, or would even attempting to do so likely be disastrous?
Excerpt from Roughing It: Lost in the Snow
- Mark Twain
In Mark Twain’s “Excerpt from Roughing It: Lost in the Snow,” a speaker and his companions struggle to reach their destination in the snow.Pair “The Open Boat” with “Excerpt from Roughing It: Lost in the Snow” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore survival. How do the different settings create different obstacles for the men? Ask students to compare the group dynamics in both stories. Do they think group cooperation is an important factor in their survival? Why or why not?
Excerpt from Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus
- Mary Shelley
In this excerpt from Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, an explorer writes letters to his sister, describing his voyage.Pair “The Open Boat” with “Excerpt from Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus” and ask students to compare the experiences of the men in each text. How does each text explore the relationship between man and nature? How does each text demonstrate how dependent people are on each other as well as strangers when there is danger? How could the situation have been different for the stranger in the sledge in “Excerpt from Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus”?