[On the Theme of Human Nature in >Pincher Martin< [《品彻·马丁》的人性主题研究], Master thesis, World Literature, Harbin Normal University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China 2021 [application of Fromm’s theories to art].

  • [Chinese abstract not available.] William Golding is regarded as an outstanding British poet religious novelist, modern fabulist and humanist of the 20thcentury. His masterpiece, >Lord of the Flies<, enjoys great popularity in the history of the English literature, which was once the bestseller of the campuses in American universities. In 1983, Golding won the throne of the Nobel Prize in literature because of his brilliant writing style as well as his penetrating thinking of humans’ living conditions in his works. >Pincher Martin< is the third novel written by Golding, which was published in 1956. Although the influence of this novel is inferior to that of his renowned masterpiece >Lord of the Flies<, Golding tried to find a new way to compose. He created a man’s spirit after death as the hero of the story, portraying the brutal instinct hidden in the human nature with a unique perspective. As a result, the publication of this work won a huge success. The novel tells a story of a military officer named Christopher Hadley Martin who had encountered a marine peril and drifted to an isolated island on which he struggled against death to survive. Most readers tend to be touched by Martin’s iron man’s spirit when they read this novel for the first time. However, when Golding was portraying Martin’s struggle against death to the utmost extent, he also revealed that Martin was actually a selfish egoist, a real villain in his real life by inserting Martin’s memory in the text at the same time. Martin had even planned to murder his best friend just out of his jealousy. The motivation that made him struggle bitterly on the rock actually came from his human nature which was both fierce and greedy. In the end, the consciousness of Martin turned into a pair of pincers of a lobster. And at the same time, the writer told his readers in the final chapter that the body of Martin had already been killed soon after he was thrown into the sea, and his experience on the rock was nothing but the process of an evil spirit struggling in his own purgatory. This thesis is based on the basic theory of human nature posed by Erich Fromm, the well-known American humanistic philosopher and psychoanalytic psychologist. The purpose of it is to analyze Martin’s nature and behaviors, exploring the novel’s theme of human nature. Apart from the introduction and the conclusion, the thesis is composed of four chapters. The introduction mainly tells some basic information of Golding’s life experiences and his novel >Pincher Martin<. On the basis, it summaries the literature review of Pincher Martin both at home and abroad. It also shows the innovations of the thesis, and presents the main argument and the structure of the thesis.– Chapter one is the theoretical foundation of the thesis, which sets forth part of Fromm’s theory of human nature. It mainly explains the intension and the extension of human nature, the escape from the evil human nature and the redemption of human nature.– Chapter two analyzes the evil human nature of Martin. This part not only points out that Martin has a complex dual personality, but also points out the specific embodiment of Martin’s evil desire in the novel.– Chapter three expounds Martin’s escape from his evil human nature. This chapter points out that the way Martin escapes from his evil human nature is through death, and then makes a detailed analysis of his living in illusion.– Chapter four is about Martin’s redemption of his evil human nature, which points out that human nature can be redeemed by kindness and love.– The conclusion of the thesis points out that Golding relentlessly criticizes the evil essence hidden in human nature through the portrayal of Martin. Through Martin’s experience, Golding illustrates the following lessons: First of all, evil is inherent for people, which can give people infinite potential. Hence, the evil human nature can also make a man brave, fearless, and indomitable. Secondly, through the story of >Pincher Martin<, the writer aimed to tell the truth that human nature is evil and to persuade people to believe in kindness and love. Otherwise, people will be controlled by the evil desire hidden in their hearts. Only kindness and love can redeem people’s evil human nature. In all, through the revelation of Martin’s evil nature and the exploration of ways of redemption, Golding shows his concern for the problem of human nature in modern society. His prose is to arouse readers’ thinking about this social problem. The argument about human nature in >Pincher Martin< provides a new perspective in analyzing Golding’s works. [English translation www.cnki.net, 8/2021]

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Author:Yuzhuo Zhang
Document Type:Dissertations
Year of first Publication:2021
Release Date:2022/05/04
Format:no download and copy possible
Writings about Erich Fromm (Secondary Literature):Dissertations / Dissertationen
Erich Fromm's Library and Erich Fromm Archive:Dissertations / Dissertationen
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