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Book Title: Pincher Martin|
The author of the book: William Golding
ISBN 13: 9780156027816
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 778 KB
Date of issue: 2002
Reader ratings: 7.2
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Read full description of the books Pincher Martin:
Nathaniel: “We are connected in the elements. We are men for water.
Christopher: “Water. Water.”
William Golding's novel «Pincher Martin» is set on Rockall, a storm-battered Atlantic rock between Ireland and Iceland. A Naval officer is the sole survivor of a torpedoed ship. Miraculously, he is washed up on Rockall and spends his days trying to hang on in this new and hostile environment: the sea, the sun and the night cold. Christopher “Pincher” Martin embarks on a journey of survival, drinking rain water from a small pool, eating mussels and seaweed, and fighting against the terror of isolation by structuring his day with a view not just to survival, but also to being rescued:
“The end to be desired is rescue. For that the bare minimum necessary is survival. I must keep this body going. […] I must watch my mind. I must not let madness steal up on me and take me by surprise. […] In normal life to talk out aloud is a sign of insanity. Here it is proof of identity.”
He speaks to himself in an attempt to keep his consciousness going, but as he slowly succumbs to the bitter cold and horrifying isolation, frame by frame, a picture emerges of his real identity: a fierce and egotistic person; a sexual predator, who has raped a woman and who was plotting to kill a rival suitor, his best friend Nathaniel, just before the torpedo hit the boat.
“Speech is identity.”
In a desperate effort to keep his identity in this harsh environment, he imposes it on the rock:
“I am busy surviving. I am netting down this rock with names and taming it. Some people would be incapable of understanding the importance of that. What is given a name is given a seal, a chain. If the rock tries to adapt to its ways I will refuse and adapt it to mine. I will impose my routine on it, my geography. I will tie it down with names. If it tries to annihilate me with blotting paper, I will speak in here where my words resound and significant sounds assure me of my own identity.”
However all Christopher's efforts are in vain, he cannot impose his identity on nature. Nature is stronger than man. He even becomes depersonalized when the personal pronoun is changed from “he” to “it”:
“Something was coming up to the surface. It was uncertain of its identity because it had forgotten its name. It was disorganized in pieces. It struggled to get these pieces together because then it would know what it was”
This loss of identity, in turn, leads to the loss of his sanity:
“There is always madness, a refuge like a crevice in the rock. A man who has no more defence can always creep into madness like one of those armoured things that scuttle among weed down where the mussels are.”
(Head, Francis Bacon)
Golding's strength lies in his sparse and raw-edged language, which so perfectly fits the location and subject matter of his novel. The descriptions of Christopher's numbness after the ship has been torpedoed, as he drifts in freezing waters towards the rock with divergent signals reaching his brain from the different parts of his body, is a linguistic work of art:
“The pain in the corner of his eye went with him too. This was the most important of all the pains because it thrust a needle now into the dark skull where he lived.”
It's as if Christopher had become one of the limpets which clings to Rockall and seals the space between itself and the rock when threatened by exterior aggression. This novel is a powerful psychological portrayal of the human mind under extreme pressure.
The end of the book holds a fascinating surprise for the reader – a real twist in the tail. Ultimately, it is up to the reader to decide, whether the story of Pincher Martin represents a possible afterlife; an after-death hallucination or “the last illusion of a dying consciousness” as Philippa Gregory suggests in her afterword.
Read information about the authorSir William Gerald Golding was a British novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. He was awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book of the trilogy To the Ends of the Earth. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983 and was knighted in 1988.
In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
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