Essay title: Two Fisherman
The integrity of an individual is not revealed when that person is in their comfort zone. It is only when that individual is put under pressure that the true nature of their being is revealed. In Morley Callaghan’s short story “Two Fisherman”, the protagonist, Michael Foster, is put in a position where he must choose to stand up and protect an innocent man he has become friends with, or to meld into the hatred of the crowd and lose his identity. When the time comes to for Michael to assert his integrity he falls short is unable to stand up to the crowd. His identity is taken from him, and he is swept into the crowd, never to return.
When Michael is first introduced he is described as a “tall, long-legged, eager young fellow, who wanted to go to the city some day and work on an important newspaper” (Callaghan 1). This statement gives some insight to the nature of Michael’s intentions, and how he will act later in the story. Someone eager to climb the corporate ladder and achieve greater status will probably not stand up to the majority. They will most likely attempt to tread lightly and not step on anyone’s toes. This may help them to achieve their goal of getting a better job, but they may not be seen by the majority as an individual, but more as a rung on the corporate ladder; someone that will not defend their position or ideals. Michael is also described as being not “at all sure of himself” (Callaghan 1). If Michael is not that sure of himself, the chances of him voicing his opinion are slim to none. This is a good position for Michael to be in if he wants to fly under the radar and live an inconspicuous life.
Smitty is often described as being a very small, shy, and little man. These descriptions do not instill a sense of courage and authority in the reader. These are the opposite traits in which one might expect a hangman to be described as. When one hears the word “hangman”, a sense of fear and danger will be the most likely response. A great hulking man with a black hood who’s sole purpose in life is to kill, a person who cares nothing about what other people think, and who would rather use physical force instead of words to settle an argument. Smitty is the exact opposite of these descriptions. He is a friendly little man who enjoys the normal things in life. The author portrays Smitty as a normal human being who enjoys fishing and sharing a drink with his friends. “The little man began to talk eagerly about fishing as he pulled out a small flask from his hip pocket” (Callaghan 3). He is harmless and thinks of his job not as a pleasure, but as a duty. Smitty is quoted as saying “Somebody’s got to do my job. There’s got to be a hangman” (Callaghan 3). Smitty does not necessarily like his job, but he does not dislike it either. It is merely something he does to make a living.
Michael’s character begins to develop when he and Smitty are done fishing and are heading back to the pier. Michael did