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The Singing Silence
Transcript of The Singing Silence
Significance of Title
The setting plays an important role in developing both character and plot
The story takes place in Spain
"I had been coming to Formentera..."
The warm weather and overall atmosphere indicates that it is summer
No particular time frame, but hints towards sometime in the not-so-far past
- Introduction of Vicente
○ - A poor man
○ - A very happy man
"Old Vicente Formentera was perhaps the happiest man I've ever known. And also, perhaps, the poorest." (pg. 157, paragraph 1)
- Asking with dignity for the boat
- The narrator being told of the story of Vicente
- "He had been an ambitious boy 60 years ago"(pg. 158, paragraph 5)
- The story of him being a porter on the quays of Barcelona
- The storm
- Vicente searching for the amphora in the storm
"Last year, on another day, when the sea rose suddenly, stirred to tumult by the wind, the little boat Vicente has borrowed was tossed back to the beach.
No one saw the old man again" (pg. 161, paragraph 6)
- The amphora tied to the inside of the boat
- The narrator being asked to write to "Abraham Lincoln Smith"
- Finding that that man does not exist
"no one had heard of [Abraham Lincoln Smith]
Annoyed by the foolish old man who had dropped his souvenir, the American had fabricated a name to get rid of him" (pg. 161, paragraph 10)
Vicente maybe experiences some conflict with himself for breaking the amphora
Therefore he I determined to find another one and give it to Abraham Lincoln Smith
"A ragged piece of paper torn from a diary and scribbled with Abraham Lincoln Smith, 72 Hudson Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. became his most valuable possession" (pg. 159, paragraph 6)
Experiences conflict with his own pride and dignity
Needs to prove to himself he is a man of pride and dignity by finding another amphora
"Vicente was an honorable man and he wanted to make amends." (pg. 159, paragraph 5)
"I could tell, the day I first saw him, that he was asking with dignity, not pleading, for the loan of a fisherman's small boat." (pg. 157, paragraph 4)
The first setting introduced
Small island off the coast of Spain, inhabited by fishermen
Brings out Vincente’s characteristics and views on life
His contrast on that island is significant, because in it we see Vincente’s true personality and disposition towards society
“I had been coming to Formentera for several years before Vincente stood out in my eyes from the old fishermen… At last I realized he was not a fisherman. He had no time to fish.”
Only present in a flashback
Large bustling city
Busy with business and tourism
Most important event occurs: Vincente breaks the amphora
Barcelona is the place where his whole perspective on life is altered
“He had no family, so it did not take long to bid farewell to his life in Barcelona, that bustling, busy city by the sea, where he had carried bags for the price of a small glass of wine in a smoky wineshop, and a windowless room to roof his nights.”
Perhaps the most important setting
Bright contrast between Vincente's house and its surroundings
Vincente's outlook on life is reflected in the setting
“At Caja Pujol, it is easy to forget. The turquoise waters are deep and clear to the bottom, the sand is untrodden, there is a long sweep of white-silver shore, and the sun is in constant benediction. In peace, one forgets”
Shows Vincente’s ability to forget about his lack of material wealth and be happy with what he has.
Why is the story called "The Singing Silence" and how does that relate to the plot or characters?
Singing silence is mentioned by Vincente to the fishermen
Seeing beauty in the silence
Vincente finds enjoyment in everything
He "finds a song in the silence"
Falling Action + Resolution
"The end result isn't always what matters but the journey you take is what counts"
"Materialism does not fulfill you as a person"
"Beauty can be found in the everyday"
Vicente was lied to by the wealthy man and was told a name that was not real. He spent his life searching for the amphora which would not have an end result because he could never really return it to the man but the journey he took had a large impact on his life and made him realize his love for the sea and diving.
Even though Vicente did not have a lot of materialistic wealth in his life. He had spiritual happiness and found contentment in other things than objects and money. He said the music under the sea is a Singing Silence and that gave him peace and calmness which gave a great deal of happiness to his life
The point of view
This point of view is in 3rd person limited. It is told from the point of view from a tourist who hears his story. It is best that it was told from this perspective because it is not bias from Vicente or the Rich American. It also adds mystery to the story because in the end Vicente dies but it is left up to the reader how they think he just disappeared whether it be death or he just went away. Overall its shows how he has become a legend. It makes the story more of a legend than a factual story and leaves the short story open.
"Never give up on doing what you believe is right and perseverance is key"
"A purposeful life is a meaningful life"
"It is a singing silence. Like many instruments sending their purest sounds up to the sky"
"Day by day, week by week, month by month, and so into the years, Vicente, searching for the amphora which in honor he felt he must find to replace the one he had broken, grew happier."
Vicente never gave up on finding the amphora and in doing so he had amazing experiences and may not have payed off with wealth but in happiness. Even though the man lied to him it set him up to having an amazing journey and life.
Vincente of Formentera
Lives poorly, but happily
Protagonist of the story
Travels the country in search of a better life but ends up a mozo (porter)
Strong sense of honor (cultural?)
"Vicente was an honorable man and wanted to make amends"
Fulfills his promise to the "rich american" at the cost of his life
He finds music in the silence of the ocean
" No one saw the old man again.
The seas have been heavy.
But tied, securely, wrapped in seaweed at the bottom of the boat was an amphora, an ancient Phoenician vessel salvaged from the centuries and the seas"
Thanks for Watching!
Related to Real Life
Having Purpose in life is more important than having wealth.
Abraham Lincoln Smith
A wealthy american
A practical but selfish and pompous man
The antagonist of the story
Vincente loses his ancient vessel by accident
He tells a lie to Vincente to get him off his back
This is ironic because his given name is Abraham Lincoln (honest Abe)
"Well, now, you see," he said, "Vicente has the search. It is not what one finds, you know, but the search itself that is important. Only the search"
A minor character who talks
briefly about Vincente giving us some idea of who he is
There is a small amount of conflict between Vicente and Abraham Lincoln Smith
Vicente wanting to have his address to send him another amphora
"[Vicente followed the American to his hotel, pleaded for his name and address, and promised to pay him back" (pg. 159, paragraph 6)
Abraham Lincoln Smith wanting Vicente to leave
"Naturally [Abraham Lincoln Smith] was angry" (pg. 159, paragraph 3)
Character vs. Self :
A veteran diver who advises
Vincente to buy a snorkel and
Character vs. Character
Vicente may have a conflict with society and society's view on him
People of the island think he is crazy
"[Vicente] is loco, est hombre, a little crazy" (pg. 158, paragraph 2)
vincentes history revolves around the Amphora
droping the amphora drives him to a life long commitment
the amphora allows Vincente to discover the music of the ocean the singing silence
(a very symbolic title)
it is symbolic of his sense of honnor
everything is related to the ocean in some way
the ocean is beautiful and has music but can also
be deadly and terrifying
it represents peace and harmony
Character vs. Society