Monday, 30 September 2013

The Sea Devil by Arthur Gordon (Analysis)

Over last week, I was privileged enough to spend from Sunday to Friday at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island. As a result, I read two short stories/excerpts relating to the ocean and am providing an analysis for each.

This short story takes place in Florida, in a bay or lagoon along the coast, late in September.
Narrative map from this website with my own type. 

I was able to notice foreshadowing in this novel. Because of the title of the short story, you can infer this character will make an appearance. I also inferred something would go wrong because the man was alone on the water in the middle of the night-- Obviously the plot will go somewhere with that. 

I'm not going to lie, my immediate reaction to the protagonist was that I disliked him because he smoked. Later, I realized that this was because the story took place in the 20th century, when it was far more common for people to smoke because they didn't understand the effects. I also felt like I couldn't relate to him at all- he was male, a decade older than me, and to me he seemed very broken, and damaged. I inferred this because he was cruel when speaking about how he enjoyed capturing and killing the animals, and with the kind of indifference he referred to this. Later though, I changed my judgement again. I think he is just very traditional- It could've been normal at the time. He does have a wife he loves and a home too so I strayed away from my original assumption. 

Though it was short, there was a theme that stood out to me while reading. I feel like it was appreciating and being cautious with your life, because it can be ripped away from extremely quickly and you will lose those you love. I felt this way because afterwards, while the sea devil was swimming and he was drowning, he kept thinking about his wife sitting in her chair, waiting for him. He saw all the things that had happened to him and realized he didn't want to die. 

I was able to connect to this story - not exactly to the protagonist - because I was at the ocean at the time. Looking out at the water while I read this made me feel more as if I was in the story. There were a few ways I connected with the protagonist and his relationship with the ocean. I also love the stillness of the ocean at night, and understand his need of solitary alone time. What I also connected with was the fact that the ocean and it's creatures can be beautiful-- but are also powerful and deadly.

Thanks for reading! See the next post for my other ocean story analysis I read while in Bamfield.

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