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For Their Own Survival

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For their own survival

The title “For their own survival” has a big importance in this story. In the story we read about two selfish persons. Sam and Liz. They are very focused on themselves and think individual.
When Sam read books about the psychology of women, he doesn’t do it because he wants Liz back. He is just trying to understand why she left him, because if he doesn’t know the reason, he will always go wondering and try to figure it out. So he is actually doing it “for his own survival”. When Liz leaves Sam she doesn’t think about his feelings, she is just thinking about itself because if she stays with him she will go crazy. That’s why they act like they do, it’s “for their own survival”

The main theme of this story is the relationship between Sam and Liz.
In the beginning they have a really good marriage.
“I’ll go crazy if you ever leave me,” (p.13 l. 3) Liz told Sam. She is too insecure and dependent on him; she needs him, and can’t live without him.
Some years after Liz says “I’ll go crazy if I stay with you” (p.14 l. 38) and have to leave him.

Sam Fulton is a well-functioning man: he works as a principal at a school, and worked for the army as a drill instructor. This is his second winter alone, since his wife Liz left him. He doesn’t have any children, Liz and Sam actually didn’t want to have children “At times they congratulated themselves on their wise decision not to have children” (p.14 l. 45-46). Sam lives alone and appears to be a lonely man. He is a man with control, as we can see because he was a drill instructor in the army.
Sam and Liz used to do everything together: travel, swim, take care of the garden and their two dogs. Without Liz he felt that his days was too open.
Instead of telling her how he feels, he tries to find out why she left him.

Liz was a shy and worried painter without any success before she met Sam. Sam was like a support for her, for how to survive in the real world. After 11 years marriage Sam has changed Liz, so she now can survive without him.
She is now an open, well-functioning woman with confidence. Sam changed her so much that she sometimes couldn’t know herself that was why she had to leave him.

It clearly appears in the story that Sam has a dominant role in their marriage, all these years he changed Liz to be an open and independent person, until she no longer know herself.
For him they had a happy marriage, so that’s why he can’t understand why Liz left him.
“It wasn’t the only time she’d made him promise he’d always be with her, but it was that time Sam kept coming back to whenever he tried to figure out why – after all her fears of losing him – she’d been the one to leave, after eleven years of marriage”. (p.13 l. 5-9)
Sam borrowed books from the library on the psychology of women, trying to understand why Liz left him. He found her type in most of the books “the woman who thought little of her abilities, who was afraid of success”.
Reading the books made him think about the army, when he needed to break his soldiers down “for their own survival”. He was comparing his soldiers with his wife. He needed to break her down mentally and physically.
So Sam took his “work” home and tried to teach Liz how to survive on her own, like his soldiers. So he was basically doing the same thing to his wife, like he did to his soldiers.

“She would have lost the huge fish it he hadn’t taken it for her and guided it through its last thrashings”(p. 13 l. 13-14). The way he “helped” Liz catching the huge fish and guided it through its last thrashings. It clearly appears that Sam is a very controlled man and as we can see he want’s to have control, cause he sees Liz as a weak woman. Later that night they eat the fish, or it’s actually only Sam who eats the fish. Liz can’t eat the fish because now she sees that, she’s the fish.

“As he hauled the marlin from the water, its color drained until is looked almost black”. (p.13 l. 22-13) – The fish symbolize Liz. When Sam pulls the fish up it can’t breath, it looses air and changes color, this is how Liz feels about their relationship, and she feels suffocated. She has no longer her heart with her in their relationship. He has formed and changed her in the way that she sometimes doesn’t know herself and that’s why she has to leave him.

In the end of the story it says “and all at once he wanted to release the fish before the color drained from it completely”(p. 17 l. 169-170)
“leaving the outlines of his hands on the marlin, and as he let it go, it darted away, heaving itself into life – forever altered, its colors more radiant than before” (p. 17 l. 178-180) – It say’s “If you love somebody set them free” and as the moment Sam released the fish into the water again, has he also let go on Liz.…...

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