I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never -”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem I saw a man pursuing the horizon

22 Comments

  1. John Simms says:

    This poem has been a favorite of mine for 50 years.
    I just completed a sculpture expressing the idea of pursuing the horizon. If you would like to see a picture of it, email me.

  2. Jeff says:

    Naturalism is by definition pessimistic. However, Stephen Crane’s poem “A Man Pursuing the Horizon”, which is an excellent example of naturalism, can be interpreted pessimistically or optimistically. To interpret it optimistically, the man does not give up hope of fulfilling his dream no matter what happens. Interpreting the poem pessimistically, the man is foolish for not recognizing that it is impossible to catch the horizon, and is therefore wasting his life. Trying to make a naturalistic poem optimistic could consequently be compared to chasing the horizon.

  3. Catherine says:

    Today Hubble is inviting us to take quantum leaps into the vast infinitude of creation. This certainly gives the “lie” to our past limited beliefs that it would be a “futile” attempt. As the universe is infinite, so are the yet untapped powers of the human mind. So, keep running on to what is yet to be.

  4. HR says:

    I want to the the image in this poem ??Who tell me ??
    Thank u !!

  5. Steve F. says:

    I think Brandt got it right here. I have always felt that the point of this poem was to praise the man who refused to accept his limitations. At the same time for some reason, I have always assumed that the man chasing the horizon knew it wsa in fact hopeless. But he refused to accept that. Where do I get this? “round and round they sped” Clearly he knew he was going in circules. But sometimes you pursue the dream of the horizon not because you will attain it but because you can’t let go of the dream and still live.

  6. Andy says:

    Crane is a naturalist he is interested in showing how faith in something you can never reach is ignorant and how men refuse to believe the impossible is possible and that blind faith in achieving the impossible is futile.

  7. moniko ramdani says:

    i like this poem ………..show more poem for me…

  8. Anonymous says:

    well……we all have certains goals in our life .and it very true that mankind believe on impossible …remember everthing is possible with God and only if you put effort on it.becuase the man pursuing the horizon he was determined to achieve his goal no matter what….

  9. Amanda says:

    I think this could be contrasting the prominent views of the day–realism and romanticism. The man pursuing the horizon represents “I think anything is possible if you believe hard enough” romantic while the man telling him it is impossible represents the pessimistic realist

  10. gary Shmellypants says:

    This poem reminds me of whe i kick this queers ass in basketball.

  11. Kevin says:

    Jono was being stupid. Pursuing what you believe in is one of the most important things a human can do. Anything is possible if you seek with all of your heart. Try believing for once and see what happens… as for the poem…I see it as a semi-humorous view of peoples struggle for what is possible and what is not.

  12. Brandt says:

    Remember, there’s a difference between poet and speaker. The speaker is disturbed by the man’s pursuit of the horizon, but that doesn’t mean Crane wants us to feel the same way. The two perspectives are that of the realist (the speaker) and the idealist (the man pursuing the horizon), and in fact Crane means for us to see the folly in the perspective of the realist. The key words here are “disturbed” and “accosted,” which portray the speaker as arrogant and narrow-minded next to the pure idealism of the man pursuing the horizon.
    A point of logic seperate from my analysis of the text: contrary to Jono’s interpretation of the role of Reason, the impossibility of success does not, in itself, invalidate a quest. The question for a true voice of reason would be whether the goal, regardless of the possibilities for success, is commendable. All goals of rationalist philosophers have been quests for the horizon–utopian society, moral codes based on pure reason, etc. Perfection is by definition unattainable, but the quest for it is a hallmark of human intellectual pursuit, and Crane understood as much.

  13. Jose says:

    The man is pursuing infinty. whether it’s possible is left to interpret.

  14. Lucie Guo says:

    One man sees another who is futilely pursuing something that, he himself, does not think exists. So either the unbeliever just simply does not see what the big deal is, or the believer is caught up in a blind, useless faith. Considering how Crane keeps writing of a universe bereft of godly superintendence, it is more likely that it was intending it to be the latter. The observer must have felt sorry for that man who kept chasing something that simply is not there.

  15. Minka says:

    The Pursuer has the stubborness and ignorence of a child. How old do you have to be to be a man?

  16. Patrick says:

    Thank you Jono for being the voice of Reason.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    umm, no one is wrong, we all see the poem different ways, so none of us are dumbasses. I think that it means that humans have mind sets. The man that wants to go to the horizon thinks that he can, and he wants to. The other man sees and trys to tell him that it will not work, but since the man seeking the horizon is so set in his ways he calls the other guy a liar.we all have our own mind-sets about certian things like the lock-ness monster or big-foot or aliens, and this guy had one about the horizon. there are always people that will come against us in life, but you need to determine youself if what you are doing is wrong or justified…….thats what i got.

  18. Jono says:

    I think that you are all wrong. Or dumbasses, if you will…I think that this poem is about mankind…the man is in pursuit of a goal that is impossible to achieve, and then, when the voice of reason stops him and tells him of the hopelessness of his task, the man keeps running anyway. He prefers ignorance, and calls Reason a liar.

  19. Abraxas says:

    This poem is about seeking. It means that we all must find our own answers in life, and those answers can only be found within ourselves. To look for external solutions to internal problems is like chasing the horizon–for every step towards it, the horizon takes a step back from us. The individual in the poem knows this, and wants to explain it to the second individual, but the second individual is unable to see it because he too must walk his own path.

  20. Dan says:

    Hey dumbass, the revolutionary war was in 1776….stephen crane was born 1871.

  21. Zane says:

    this was written around the revolutionary war it represents the veiws of the differnt parties

  22. Tessa Kallinicos says:

    How we perceive the world determines our actions. Crane was so succinct! He offers us opposite perspectives, balancing them perfectly.

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