Letters From The Samantha


An interesting short story is "" by Mark Helpin. This story tells the fascinating tale, in the form of never sent letters, of an ape brought aboard an iron-hulled sailing ship in 1909 by Samson Low, the ship’s captain. Although the author makes a point to tell the reader, through Samson Low, that the animal does not symbolize anything or mean anything, in fact, "He stands for nothing" (280), several arguments can be made to contradict this. One could argue that the ape symbolized the untamed and rarely used wild side of Samson Low through a comparison of their personalities, appearances, and the way they are treated by others. Samson Low was a captain of a ship owned by ...

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ship is always on time or even ahead of schedule. The picture painted is of a steady, reliable, conservative man who always does the appropriate thing in a situation. However, a typhoon the ship sails through reveals a different, less predictable side. When describing the typhoon, Samson thinks, "I confess that I have wished to be completely taken up by such a thing, to be lifted into the clouds…" (272). This is hardly the thought of a truly buttoned-down man. He also imagines surrendering to the seas, "But I have not, and will not." (272). While he seems content with his life, Samson Low’s secret yearnings sometimes show through. It is because of this Samson seems jealous of the ape and the things it has experienced. Samson has only dreamed while the ape has actually lived. The ape, when first aboard, climbs the rigging to the highest point from there he has a total view of the ship below and all that goes on much like a "pharaonic" captain would do. ...

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could be why the captain has such an odd response when face to face with the ape. Although hungry, the ape, a vegetarian, won’t come down until the captain has ordered a special meal prepared. Surprisingly it is the captain’s favorite meal, enjoyed at a point in his life when he was less conservative. The ape devours the meal. The captain has this dish prepared, perhaps, because the ape reminds him of what he was and of the little recklessness he had as a young man. They are affected by their surroundings the same way. The heat also affects them similarly. Heat prostration has hit the captain and he suffers from very severe headaches for the first time in his life and "The ape has ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/11/2006 07:04:30 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1420
Pages: 6

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