Monday, 30 September 2013

Bamfield Short Story Reflections

The grade nine students at my school got the incredible opportunity to go to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre in Vancouver for a six day field trip. While there we read two intentinaly chosen pieces and were asked to reflect on them. Here are my thoughts on "The Sea Devil" and an excerpt from Whale Song.

"The Sea Devil"

by Arthur Gordon

In the stunning setting of a marine science centre facing the ocean I was asked to read and react to a short story titled "The Sea Devil". The title made me apprehensive by looking at the story I predicted I would be reading an entirely fictional and far fetched novel about demons that lurk in the sea. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the story reminded me of a fisherman's tale about a man catching a giant ray or the devil of the sea. As for my thoughts on the protagonist or the fisherman catching the ray  my first impression of him was that he was someone who liked to isolate himself. I took this from the story first because it says he likes to go fishing alone at night for no reason other than to be by himself in nature. I also got this impression because when the man hears the porpoises call her refers to the porpoise as his friend meaning he might connect more to animals than to people. This element may also be foreshadowing as the porpoise truly was his friend as it helped him later on in the narrative. Also the name of the man is never mentioned in the story perhaps because the man does not want to achieve any form of fame. Another impression of the main character that I got was that he was rough around the edges. I thought this because he enjoyed the hard labour of fishing and seemed to live in a small house away from civilization. He seemed to have a very wild quality to him. The other piece of foreshadowing I was able to pick up on either than the porpoise was that the two "fins" in the water are actually part of the sea devil. I predicted this because the story had began to slow down nearing that point and since it was a short story I knew there was not a lot of time for exposition and seeing the mysterious fins and discovering the sea devil seemed like a plausible  point for the action to pick-up. The theme I pulled from this story was that man does not have as much control over nature as he thinks. I found this to be the theme because during the falling action of the book the main character spots an airplane completely unaware to the harrowing experience he went through at the hands of the natural world. That anyone could go through at the hands of the natural world.

 "Whale Song"

by Cherl Kaye Tardif

While reading "Whale Song" I was shocked to discover it took place in the same place I was staying which happened to be a small area in Vancouver called Bamfield. Experiencing this really helped me to visualize he setting of the story. For example as she was mentioning seeing the ocean for the first time I glanced out the window and saw the ocean waves crashing against the show I was able to vividly imagine what the protagonist Sarah is experiencing. Another element of the story that intrigued me was that the protagonist was reflecting on the story from later years as it was told in past tense. I think she is looking back on the events from five years or later as she often mentions the faults of her youth. Considering the ending of the story which included a voice calling out to Sarah who was resting on the dock. I think that the voice belongs to the sister of the boy that drowned both of whom are mentioned earlier on in the story. I believe the sister will talk to Sarah and both of them will swim to the mysterious and forbidden island in order to look for the missing boy. I had a difficult time identifying the theme of the novel just looking at the exert because it was mainly exposition and did not even identify the main struggle taking place in the novel. If the exert was representative of a separate short story, I would identify the theme to be that change is a good things since Sarah finds many good things within the move she was apprehensive of. 

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