William Golding: Pincher Martin (1483 words)


Published in 1956 and set during the Second World War, Golding’s third novel is the single story of a marooned British seaman who escapes from a destroyer torpedoed in the North Atlantic Ocean. It starts with Christopher Martin, nicknamed Pincher, struggling to endure the icy water. He had been on the bridge of his ship at the time of its sinking and now fights for his life in the ocean. Exhausted, he crawls onto an isolated rock and begins to plan his survival while awaiting rescue. The final words of the book reveal that Martin has been dead since the second page of the novel.

All that has gone before has to be reconsidered. The reader’s first thought might be that this has been the narrative of Pincher’s life flashing …

Citation: Childs, Peter. "Pincher Martin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 May 2012 [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2819, accessed 27 November 2022.]

2819 Pincher Martin 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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