The short story “A great day” is written by one of New Zealand’s greatest short story writers, Frank Sargeson (1903 – 1982). The story takes place at the shore of New Zealand in the 1930’s. It begins at a deserted beach, where the weather and the sea were perfect; “The tide was well over half-way out, and the sea was absolutely flat without even a ripple breaking on the sand. It was so still it wasn’t natural. Except for the seagulls you’d have thought the world had died in the night”. The main part of the story happens at the sea, in the main characters’ dinghy.
The two main characters in “A great day”, is Fred and Ken. Ken is big, brawny and clearly the strongest of the two men. At the beginning of the story, Ken carries the dinghy on his back with no problem, while Fred is struggling to carry the gear which probably weighed much less than the dinghy. Ken also finds the rowing very easy because of his strength. Fred seems to have a lack of self-esteem, and does not have much positive to say about himself, and mentions in the text that he is a weak joker. He is quite jealous of Ken in many ways, and often intimates that he wants to be like him. The two men seem to have nothing in common, apart from that they both smoke, and they’re both out of work.
Ken appears to be much gentler and more considerate than Fred. Fred actually seems a bit malicious. In the story, Ken catches a little snapper. Fred takes the fish of the hook, and holds it in his hands. He seems almost thrilled to see that the poor fish can’t breathe over the water, and he holds it for so long that he nearly kills it. Ken, on the other hand, begs Fred to throw the fish back in the sea. There is one more character mentioned in the text, Mary. She is Ken’s girlfriend. Fred has known Mary for years, and thinks only well about her. I think most of Fred’s jealousy all in all is based on Mary. He is in love with her, and wants her to be his girlfriend, not Ken’s. Ken’s aunt is also...
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