Stephen Crane A Man Said To The Universe Analysis Essay

A Man Said to the Universe

  • Length: 336 words (1 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓

A Man Said to the Universe
    Stephen Crane wrote many remarkable poems, short stories, and novels
throughout his short life (He lived only to the age of 29). In one poem in
particular, "A Man Said to the Universe," Crane uses cosmic irony to depict
an existentialist way of life.
    "Cosmic irony occurs when a writer uses God, destiny or fate to dash the
hopes and expectations of a character or mankind in general"(2133). Crane’s
use of this type of irony is seen through the relationship that the universe
displays with mankind. Existentialism depicts the idea that one is not based
on the essence of a soul but, rather is based on decisions made throughout
life. God’s existence in nature is expected, and it is ironic how Crane shows
just the opposite to be true. Existentialism is indifferent to God’s
existence in nature as well.  Crane depicts man as a weak soul longing for
his existence to be recognized by the universe. "However’ replied the
universe,/ ‘The fact has not created in me/ A sense of obligation"(3-5). 
These lines prove that the universe does not recognize the existence of man. 
This universe is a mighty force, heedless to the needs and wishes of man. We
may argue or detest something that we have no control over, only to come to
the realization that nature is indifferent to our thoughts or feelings.  It
is generally assumed that man has an obligation to the universe and vise
versa. However, as seen in this poem, neither can be assumed.
    By living an existential life a man can detach himself from the idea of

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"A Man Said to the Universe." 11 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
Perfection in Pope’s An Essay on Man - Alexander Pope envisioned a universe perfect by definition. Every facet of this universe is designed solely for its place in the hierarchy of existence, and is in fact perfect for its particular station. This idea of perfection in completeness is encompassed in the famous concluding words of the first epistle of Pope’s An Essay on Man: “Whatever IS, is RIGHT.” This aphorism, however, belies the effort Pope took to solidify his assertion. In order to substantiate his idea of a perfectly structured universe, Pope delineates—in extremely structured and formal heroic verse—an argument positing the failure of human reason, fettered as it is by ignorance and pride, in obtaining a proper idea of ma...   [tags: An Essay on Man]
:: 1 Works Cited
1824 words
(5.2 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
Essay on In a Parallel Universe - On a Saturday morning in Florida, Benjamin and George try to sneak out of their hotel room to play hockey. Benjamin and George have been living in a hotel since they came out of their moms womb as their mom being the head chef.Their mom not turning around, says "And just where do you two think you're going?" George and Benjamin stop. George is surprised, because their mom didn't even turn around. Benjamin says that, the eyes behind the head thing is creepy. Their mom tells them that she has 20/20, and then points at the back of her head and finishes saying 20/20 vision....   [tags: personal narrative]1008 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
How the Universe was Created Essay - Scientists have had many arguments on how the Earth is really shaped. Some say that the Earth was round rather than a flat plate. It came to mind on how the Earth was really shaped when there were eclipses on the moon. If the Earth were a flat disk, the shape of the moon would be stretched and arched. Also, Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, thought that the Earth was stationary. He believed that the sun, the stars, and the moon orbited around the Earth. A Greek philosopher named Ptolemy made a model predicting the alignment of the galaxy, and the Christian church adopted his model....   [tags: science]1105 words
(3.2 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
God Created Our Universe Essay - It is only natural in every single human being’s life to ponder the thought about life in depth. Where did we come from. Why are we here. What happens after we die. All of these are only some of the many questions that we continue to analyze and envision about continuously. Whether some of us are religious, non-religious, spiritual, or maybe do not have the slightest clue about it, we each have a unique and personal idea of what life and afterlife has in store for us. Some might constantly compare their thoughts to famous philosophers such as Aristotle or perhaps the infamous Steven Hawking....   [tags: Creationism vs. Evolution]
:: 5 Works Cited
2333 words
(6.7 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Essay about Origin of the Universe - The Origin of the Universe Since the dawn of intelligent man, humanity has speculated about the origins of the universe. There is evidence, which indicates that the universe started around 15 billion years ago. This is probably the greatest discovery imaginable; however, the universe still seems to be a very controversial subject. Most scientists agree that there was a beginning but there is a lot of speculation of how it (the universe) actually started. The much-celebrated Greek philosopher, Aristotle, denied the fact that there ever was a beginning....   [tags: Astronomy Physics]4117 words
(11.8 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
The Comparison of the Creation of the Universe and Origin of Man and New Species - The Comparison of the Creation of the Universe and Origin of Man and New Species The Big Bang is a theory that the universe was created in a very large explosion involving three gases. My first point is to question where were these three gases. They didn’t just come out of no where. They had to have a point of origin otherwise it is impossible for this theory to be true. Another theory linked to the big bang is the theory of Edwin Hubble, which says that the universe is expanding, the red shift....   [tags: Papers]599 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man “All things, it is said are duly recorded – all things of importance, that is. But not quite, for actu-ally it is only the known, the seen, the heard and only those events that the recorder regards as important that are put down, those lies his keepers keep their power by. (Ralph Ellison, 439) The Christian value system that saturates Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is exhibited in the invisible man’s struggle over whether humility is an appropriate virtue for him to pursue or just a handicap that enables him to be taken advantage of and oppressed by the powers that be....   [tags: Ralph Ellison Invisible man]
:: 16 Works Cited
8038 words
(23 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Essay - A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings      The fictional tale entitled A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is an intriguing story which is expressed very well in the title. The story is about just that, an old man with wings. The only aspect that the title fails to point out is that he is an angel. I find the story to be somewhat interesting; however, it isn’t exactly hard to put down.      The one thing about this story that stands out the most, is the author’s use of tone. This is the main aspect of the story that jumps out at you....   [tags: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings]1185 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Happiness in the Fourth Epistle of Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man - Alexander Pope's philosophical poem An Essay on Man, published in 1732-134, may even more precisely be classified, to use a German phrase, as Weltanschauungliche Dichtung (worldviewish poetry). That it is appropriate to understand An Essay on Man as world view in verse, as a work which depicts humanity's relationship to and understanding of a perplexing and amazing world, is indicated in the statement of the poem's "Design" in which the author avows that his goal was to examine "Man in the abstract, his Nature and his State." Indeed, Pope sought to fulfill his agenda by describing in each of the work's four "epistles" the nature and state of man with respect (1) to the universe, (2) to...   [tags: Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man]
:: 12 Works Cited
5582 words
(15.9 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Essay about Ethnicity, Invisibility, and Self-Creation in Invisible Man - Ethnicity, Invisibility, and Self-Creation in Invisible Man   A community may be said to possess a genuine ethnic culture when it adheres to and closely observes a tradition rich with its own folklore, music, and idiom. In Ellison's Invisible Man, the concern with ethnic identity is strong and becomes increasingly urgent in the face of a "foreign" dominant culture. Ethnicity, as a means of self-affirmation is a possible stay against eclipse, invisibility. Ellison convincingly depicts the persistence of a vibrant African-American tradition....   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
3511 words
(10 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Universe         Way Of Life         Hopes         Displays         Obligation         Wishes         Opposite         Crane         Stephen Crane         Existential        

expectations and hopes, and instead choose the right paths that will lead to
his desires. Crane’s use of cosmic irony shows how the man’s hopes of the
universe’s recognizing his existence, and taking it into consideration, are
dashed. The man is instead forced to come to the conclusion that only his
choices will determine the right paths that will lead to his desires.

A man declares to the universe that he exists in order to be recognized, in order to feel that his existence is recognized, that he has meaning and purpose in the grand scheme of things. It is not enough for the man to conceive of his existence to and for himself. He is seeking recognition, or at least to be acknowledged by the universe around him. The universe replies that the fact that the man exists does not create a sense of the universe being obligated to that man. In other words, the (personified or sentient) universe acknowledges that the man exists but is indifferent to his existence. On the one hand, the universe gives the man what he wants; acknowledgment of his existence. But on the other hand, the universe essentially says, "yes, but it doesn't matter to me." 

Some readers might interpret this poem as a conversation with God, the universe being God. In this case, God acknowledges the man's existence but is not obligated to him. This would be a Deist perspective; a belief that God does not intervene in the world and in human affairs. The man is left to find the divine in himself and/or the abstract world of the spiritual. 

Reading this poem with "The Open Boat," it seems more likely that the universe is not God. Therefore, the poem is about man's quest for significance in a world that does not acknowledge him in a way that an intervening God would. The man is therefore faced with being acknowledged but ignored; just as the natural world reacts to him in physical ways but, having no consciousness, nature ignores him. In "The Open Boat," when the men are faced with drowning, the narrator (perhaps also the voice of the correspondent), notes: 

When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples. Any visible expression of nature would surely be pelleted with his jeers. 

In the poem, the man may have similar frustrations. He is in a world/universe which does not care about him. His only hope to feel significant is to accept the indifference of the universe to his fate and create significance for himself. 

One thought on “Stephen Crane A Man Said To The Universe Analysis Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *