Pincher Martin: No Sanity When You're Stranded
In the novel, Pincher Martin, written by William Golding, Christopher Hadley Martin goes through a psychological transformation when he is stranded on an uninhabited island. The author associates his internal change with external change, by forcing Christopher into isolation and with the use of strong symbolic language. This seclusion triggers his transformation and ultimately results in his death. Christopher begins his journey when he is the only survivor of a torpedoed destroyer during World War II. He has the rigid mentality of a soldier throughout his whole ordeal. Golding argues that when placed in extreme isolation and given the right circumstances, man will return to the innate barbarism that was instilled in him since birth. Golding's modernist ideas greatly influence this novel, proving that separation of man and animals is not definite. Eventually, Christopher regresses to his natural savage instincts and loses his mind on the huge barren rock that he is stranded on. Christopher Martin transforms from an intelligent, determined man, into a secluded, insane animal. His path to destruction begins with a relentless attitude, while struggling to stay afloat in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
While wrestling with the sea, Christopher displays valiant courage and determination to survive. He tells himself: "I won't die! I wont!"(17). Christopher's courage seems to falter for some time and he finds himself, "frightened again not with animal panic but with deep fear of death in isolation"(10). At all times, Christopher is absorbed in thought; even when he is not conscious. While he was not externally aware, his conscious "was moving and poking about
among the shape-sounds and the disregarded feelings like an animal ceaselessly examining its cage"(32). Here, Golding depicts Christopher not as just a man stranded on a lonely rock, but also as an animal trapped in a cage. Christopher believes that, "In normal life...
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