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LIT 4930: Florida Lit and Culture

Class 20: Stephen Crane

      Crane’s "The Open Boat" in Florida Literature
      Due: Post 10 – group B, Response Group A

    Class Objectives:

      Postcard practice
      Analyze the watery world of Florida in Crane's fiction

    Notes and Discussion Questions:

      According to the editors of the Florida Reader, Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" "was read as an adventure celebrating a victory over nature rather than a warning about nature's capacity to disrupt human dreams" (167). In what sense can this be read as a victory over nature? In what sense might we prefer to read it as a warning about nature's capacity to disrupt human dreams?

      Given the centrality of water to Florida's identity, how do you understand the role of water in the narrative? How is this (or is this?) a characteristic of Florida literature?

      All of the men of the story are nameless, except for Billie, who doesn't survive. What is the impact of this literary choice?

      In terms of gender, examine the use of the feminine abstractions for Fate and Nature in the story.

      How is this a representation of place? What theories of place might help you dissect it as Florida or Floridian?

      If we no longer read this as a story about victory over nature, themes or meaning emerges?

      Examine the historical contexts for the piece, which is marked by its relation to a real event. How do the politics of the Cuban effort to become independent of Spain affect the "adventure" story? In terms of intertextuality, how does this illustration of support for Cuban independence resonate with the writing by Yglesias?


      Postcard Research

      Step 2:

      Browse the postcards on the front page of the FDPE. Identify four or five places of interest on the cards. Conduct some preliminary research on the places using the resources listed and prioritize what interests you. Record the image numbers from the postcards.

      Step 3: In-class exercise.

      Browse the postcards. Demonstrate the functionality of the site.
      Note what information is available (ID, location, date, place names, more).
      Review postcard history information by helping them identify the type of postcard.

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