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"The Sea Devil"
Transcript of "The Sea Devil"
by Arthur Gordon
The man is in his late twenties, has a strong build and is very experienced in fishing. He has a good paying job and does not need to fish for money or food, he just liked fishing alone at night. He goes out into the sea one night and does not want to go too far. While he is heading out he notices some porpoises are also around and knows that he is going to have to hurry because they might scare the mullets away.
Just as he thinks he won’t catch any mullets he sees two oily looking swirls that were about eight feet apart. With the noose tied around his wrist he gets closer to where he saw the two swirls and tries to capture what he thought were two mullets. Everything goes wrong as soon as he finds out that the two swirls were not mullets, but a giant manta ray. The man tries his best to get the slipknot off of his wrist, but since the manta ray is tangled up in the net the man gets pulled into the water. Trying his best to stay on the shallow end of the channel instead of getting pulled into the deep end of the water and dying, the man fails. The manta ray is too powerful for the man and drags the man all over, causing the man to get tired. As the man is getting dragged around in the water he ends up under the water thinking that he will be dead within seconds, but instead of giving up he fights for his life. The man saw a stake that was covered in barnacles and that that it would either cut the net or at least spare him a couple of breaths. The barnacles did more damage to the man than good.
The man uses his brain and come up with a plan to rescue himself from the manta ray. He decides that he will use the stake in a different way. He goes around to one side of the stake while the ray is on the other and he goes to the bottom of the water to make himself stable. With the manta ray leaping one way and the man trying to stay stable, the rope is cut by the barnacles on the stake and the man is free.
Finally realizing how it is to literally be caught in his own net and going through a near death experience, the man sees the mullet and lets it back into the sea. As he tries to take the slipknot off of his wrist he then knows that he will never go fishing alone at night again.
The setting of the story "The Sea Devil" was set on a breathless night during late September in one of the countless lagoons that border the coast where Florida thrusts its green thumb deep into the tropics. Summer's dead hand still lay on the land. That night, the sky was filled with fuzzy and dim looking stars while the dark moon was shining evilly against the placid water of the mangrove swamp. Darkness and silence filled everywhere, not even the sound of the animals.
The symbol is the object that ties the whole story together, the symbol is the rope. The rope from the net signifies all of the problems and insecurities from the man. The rope is literally the line between life and death. The more the man tried to get free the thinner the rope got, just like real life. The more you fight for your life and what you want, the chances of you dying are thinner.
The theme of the short story 'The Sea Devil' is a good example of man versus nature genre. The conflict is between society and untamed nature. The main character in this story has to face all different obstacles in order to survive. Since the man can't defeat the Manta Ray successfully with his physical abilities, he has to mentally create a plan to save his life. The Manta Ray does not mean to do such horrible actions, he just wanted to break free from the rope because its life was at risk as well. The theme statement of this short story is that we can't conquer nature because it is fighting for its own survival as well and treat nature the way you want to be treated.
Another reason why you should read the Sea Devil by Arthur Gordon is because the imagery is amazing. Arthur Gordon uses very descriptive words to paint a realistic picture in the readers mind, using the five senses. Although, the sense of of touch and sight had the most impact and were the most descriptive in the story because it makes the reader interpret what the other senses are. For example, when i was reading this story the sight and touch were so descriptive I personally felt pain for the man. "He felt the razor-sharp barnacles bite into his hand, collapse under the pressure, drive their tiny slime-covered shell splinters deep into his flesh. He felt the pain, and he welcomed it, and he made his fingers into an iron claw that would hold until the tendons were severed or the skin was shredded from the bone." (Page 40) I could also smell the irony or coppery scent of blood and I could taste a somewhat salty metal.
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The manta ray swims away leaving the man with pain and a great victory. Slowly and painfully, the man walks towards the shore and then onto the skiff.
The protagonist in the story is the man because all the events revolved around him. In a way, he is also the antagonist because he had cruel intentions to nature. His name was not indicated in the story, because it was told from a third person limited-omniscient point of view. The man was wide-shouldered and strong, in his late twenties who worked hard with his head, not his hands. He liked to go casting alone at night because he was content with the loneliness and the labor of it. He liked the clean taste of salt water, the arching flight of sixteen pounds of lead and linen against the starlight, the weltering crash of the net into the unsuspecting water, the harsh tug of the retrieving rope around his wrist, the way the net came alive when the cast was true, and the thud of the captured fish on the floorboards of the skiff. He liked being a skilled, solitary, elemental, hunter. He felt no conscious cruelty with his actions, he had always been like that. He did not speak throughout the whole story, but with this information, we could tell that he was care-free and vile. His actions (casting for contentedness) lead to the result of him suffering from physical pain and learning a lesson: treat nature the way you want to be treated. He influences the events in this story because the text was based on the result of his wrong-doings.
"The Sea Devil" by Arthur Gordon is the perfect suspenseful story for all of you. The story has: sensory details which helps readers get a vivid visualization and makes the reader feel like they are involved in the story, a well-done description of the setting, a spine-chilling conflict between a vile character and a sting ray, a rope representing the line between life and death, and a straight-forward theme. This story could be interpreted in another way (It relates to life and the typical insecure mind); The manta ray represents the antagonist/ the man's mind, the rope represents the man's insecurities and whatever brings him down, and the man plays the role as himself. The man's mind is dragging him all over the place because he's tied up to his insecurities and worries, causing him physical pain. At some point of your life, you could relate to his situation and you could recognize a better insight of the text, also wouldn't it be over-whelming to read your hidden emotions on text?