Analysis of The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World
- Narrative Technique
- Omniscient Intrusive Narrator who describes the action and who tells what the characters are thinking and feeling. "they thought that maybe the ability to keep on growing after death was part of the nature of certain drowned men." "I even would have tied the anchor off a galleon around my neck...p.252 but they also knew that everything would be different from then on..p.253
- Narrator makes comments about the significance of the action and characters. "...but even though they were looking at him there was no room for him in their imagination." p.248
- Hyperbolic narration. the handsomest drowned man in the world. The use of overstatement to create a magical, mythical quality. The lyrical accumulation of hyperbolic statement in the last paragraph creates an ecstatic vision of the transformation of the villagers world.
- A drowned man washes ashore and his stature and beauty transforms the world of the small isolated barren village. A movement from a narrow closed and barren world to a wide, open and rich world.
- A small fishing village on the edge of the sea. a rural peasant community of 20 poor houses. Isolated and barren landscape. 3rd paragraph: the village was made up of only twenty-odd wooden houses that had stone courtyards with no flowers and which were spread about on the end of a desertlike cape
- a narrow, diminished world in which this strange prodigious figure enters. His size and beauty are a shock to their small and barren world.
- a key line: even though they were looking at him there was no room for him in their imagination.
- The dead man is the only individual character in the story. He is a catalyst figure. His stature and beauty have a transforming effect on the villagers.
- The other characters are "the women" and "the men." The Narrator tells us the thoughts and feelings of these groups as they deal with the drowned man.
- the villagers do change during the course of the story. initially there was no room for him in their imagination. Dealing with the handsomest drown man transforms their consciousness so by the end: they also knew that everything would be different from then on...
- The major symbol is the handsomest drowned man. He is a mythical figure--godlike in his size and beauty. A fantasy figure--the handsomest in the world. The presence of this figure exposes the poverty of their world, and expands their imagination.
- The presence of the handsomest drowned man in the world transforms the the villagers world. The presence of such beauty expands their imagination and by the end opens them up to an imaginative transformation of their world. Their encounter with him opens them up to a world of beauty that they had not been able to imagine before. By the end of preparing him for a sea burial, they have become kinsmen with him. He has become a person to them, a name-Esteban. The beauty and splendor of their drowned man revealed to them the narrowness of their dreams. His presence transforms them so that they knew everything would be different from then on. What is different? Their capacity to imagine a bigger wider world of beauty. bigger houses, and making the barren cliffs bloom with flowers. The story ends with an estatic vision of the transformation of beauty. the promontory of roses; where the wind is so peaceful; where the sun's so bright that the sunflowers don't know which way to turn; that's Esteban's village.