'Pincher Martin' by William Golding - A review.

Essay by pibandpobUniversity, Bachelor's April 2005

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Pincher Martin did not continuously enthral me, but I still enjoyed it on an academic level. Despite occasionally feeling confused by the narrative and not relating to the protagonist, I nevertheless found myself being drawn in to the story and I wanted to discover what would eventually happen to Christopher 'Pincher' Martin.

The first chapter of Pincher Martin is very disorienting. It is almost written in the form of stream of conscious, and I initially comprehended it as highbrow gibberish. With the knowledge of hindsight, however, I now know that the opening chapter is the moment of Martin's death, which has enabled me to understand why his thoughts were presented in such a manner.

The writing technique becomes notably more coherent once Martin 'discovers' the rock. In the following chapters, his experiences are incredibly lucid and are graphically described down to every last detail. We feel the sensations Martin encounters and endures exhaustively, and the practicalities and trivialities of his situation are well realised.

His bodily predicament and what he feels physically are vividly and palpably portrayed, from the feel of the pebbles against his face, to the 'comic' moments, such as when he gives himself an enema. The reader is invited to sit firmly inside Martin's head, his consciousness, and his pain.

As Martin suffers involuntary flashbacks, his character begins to develop in detail. We discover that in his 'past life' he was a contemptible man - a murderer of his ingenuous companion, Nathaniel, and a thief with seemingly no morals whatsoever. In some ways it is difficult to relate to him as an individual persona, as, seen from the perspective of his 'rock', he appears to be more representative of an archetypal moral figure than the type of well-rounded character that one might expect in...