Two Fishermen
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April 3rd, 2006
The author also uses characterization to bring out the theme. Even though this short story is only 6 pages long Callaghan really lets us get a feel for the characters. This is done two ways. One is through other characters so that there isn’t a bias. The author lets us see other character opinions about the main character Smitty. For example the owner of the hotel describes Smitty as being “A mild, harmless looking guy” and also said he was very “polite.” We see what Michael thinks of Smitty as well. Michael describes him as being a “little fellow.” Then we see Smitty being described by the narrator over and over again as a “little man.” A “shy little man” or a “mild little man” who is filled with enthusiasm at the thought of going fishing with Michael. And why shouldn’t he be enthusiastic? He’s a hangman and not too many people seem to have befriended him. All the while Michael’s only doing this because he’s a reporter and he wants to pump Smitty for information. Again we see Michael describe him as being a “nice little guy.” So even though on the outside Smitty appears as a hangman and is hated by society because his job is so cruel, on the inside he is actually a real nice guy who doesn’t actually even really like his job he just accepts that that’s his job and he has to do it. As the story progresses Michael begins to see this and has a great evening fishing with Smitty. The author clearly shows us that Smitty is very happy and is very eager to see Michael again the following morning for some more fishing. So eager that he doesn’t realize Michael doesn’t want to be seen with him. But when Michael does avoid him he feels ashamed of himself because he alone knows that Smitty is actually a nice guy.

This is the first half of the story. Throughout the rest of the story Smitty’s image changes once he must take responsibility as being the hangman. The author now portrays the exterior Smitty, the hangman that no one except Michael can see past. Smitty is seen as being dressed very formally for the occasion and walks with dignity. Even though he may not enjoy his job he does realize that it’s his duty alone to do it so he must do it. This leads to everyone hating him for being a hangman, even though he is actually a very nice, little

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Short Story And Outside Smitty. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from