The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship
Writer: G. G. Marquez
This story is written by applying a stream of consciousness technique. It explains how a boy deepens his observation and grows from an ordinary boy to an assertive young man.
When the story starts we find the boy is already grown into assertive man, when he asserts, “Now they are going to see who I am.” But in the very next line, we are made familiar about the past events through retrospective technique.
Four years ago in March, the boy saw a huge ship, which lost its way, crushed to rock and sank. There were no lights on the ship. Neither had it appeared in the light of the lighthouse. He could only see the ship in extreme darkness. Our common sense tells that we can see an object only if it is luminous or it is illuminated. Thus, it is clear that it was just an imagination of the boy. He was himself not sure about that vision for the first time and didn’t tell anybody about that.
In the following March, he saw a similar ship again. This time he told his mother about it. His mother didn’t believe him. Rather, she thought the boy became lunatic and lamented for three weeks. However, she assured him that she would go and look at the ship if it came again. But before the arrival of the ship, she died.
When the ship appeared in March again, the boy called the villagers to see that ship. But as there wasn’t any ship and they beat the boy for telling lie. After that, the boy decided if the ship came next time he would show everybody how big the ship was.
The ship appeared in the fourth March too. This time the boy led the ship with a stolen lamp in a small boat. The light of the lamp helped the ship to correct its way and it followed the boy. The boy brought the ship to the village. The gigantic ship was 97 times longer than the village and 20 times taller than the church. The boy imagined that its loud siren had woken the whole village and they were looking at the ship in disbelieve. This would help him to prove his worth and who he was.
Actually it is the story about the powerful imagination of the boy. Sometimes a person’s creative power becomes so sharp that he can see his vision in concrete form. A normal mind with limited power of creativity hardly sees such a picture.
The story very neatly presents the development of the boy from an ordinary boy to a confident young man. As he grows old he shows his will power, determination, strength and intelligence. In his youth, he becomes assertive and confident and speaks of his triumphant vision in a strong new man’s voice. The boy first saw the ghost ship as a boy. When he woke up the day after he saw it, he thought it was a dream. The next year when he saw it, he knew it was not a dream and he ran to tell his mother who said: “your brain’s rotting away”. After the boy’s mom and four other women die in a rocking chair the people in the village were convinced the chair was evil, so “the murderous chair was thrown into the sea”. Then another March he saw the ghost ship again started yelling “come see it”. No one saw it so they did not believe him. They beat him up, an occurrence which left him “drooling with rage”, and he found himself saying “now they’re going to see who I am”. A year later, he went out into the bay at night to wait for the ship. When it came, the air became filled with a horrible smell, and he when saw it he lit a red lantern and got the ship to follow him. When it was away from the shoals, it turned into a real ship, “with its name engraved in iron letters, Halalcsillag”, and he had it follow him back toward the village where he ran it”aground in front of the church”. In the morning when the villagers came out, they were shocked and amazed that the story of the ship was true.
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- The story traces the development of a boy from his childhood into maturity as the story develops in chronological order. With the chronological order, he encounters with the ghost ship many times. When he saw the ship as first he thought it was only a dream. When he saw next time he told his mother and compelled her to see the ghost ship with him the following year. Unfortunately, she died before the time came. So, he was hated by the people. He didn’t want to get any charity so he stole fish from the boat and sold them. Once he shouted seeing the ghost ship but the villagers beat him so he got angry and made a strong decision to meet the ghost ship anyhow. He stole a boat and went to the boy of the sea and waited for her. After all, he was able to meet the ship and thinking very seriously he made a trick and lit a lantern to control the ghost ship. Magically, the ship came under his control and he led it to his village where he was beaten. At least he carried it to the village and the villagers became surprised what it really was.
As he was a small boy, he couldn’t recognize and know the real existence of the ship but at last, he made a strong decision and plan to meet the ship anyhow and expose him really who he was. He got success with his immaturity. The success and maturity developed are interrelated. He could solve the mystery with his courage and idea which is the result of his maturity. No one else knows the existence of the ship because it was the boy’s imagination. When he saw the great whale he shouted as if the miraculous ship appeared there but it was not reality.
- I mean the boy’s newly discovered ability to control the ship’s moment is his ability to control his imagination and his concept. His strong feeling and range arise due to beating and hatred. He comes to take revenge with the villagers and wants to show his strong power of imagination.
- The protagonist is asserting that he brings the largest ocean liner into his village which pours his strong, imaginative production. At first, he imagines the ship which leads him to expose in the real world. He shouts once about the ship, he is beaten and hated so his dim imagination comes to be strong and he wants to show his all power to the villagers so he imagines the large ship to be brought into the village publicly.
- Stream of consciousness reveals the psychological process of the protagonist in writing. Character’s thoughts and feelings play important roles to develop the incidents. The sensitive description proceeds without plot and logical sequences. On the basis of this story, we can find the boy’s thoughts and imaginations prolonged for pages. We can’t analyze the sentence because of the fluctuation of the thoughts of the character. The incidents are led by the boy’s thoughts. It does not pay attention to the realities. When we read the story, we don’t find the real and dream explanations. Only thoughts and feelings can be expressed through such style but dialogue, explanation, idea exchange would resist treatment in the style.
- As the story is in the style of stream of consequences, the phrase “Now they are going to see who I am” is the boy’s strong and constant thought which is reoccurring again and again. The refrain helps the whole story to be well organized in consequence of the events. The word ‘now’ reminds that the character is challenged to anyone because they are not regarding his capacity. The word has revealed his mental depression by the antagonist in the story. For the more clarification of the same statement we can remember the following examples – ‘his voice was blown and left him twisted – he would not let himself confused by emotion…etc.’
Here ‘they’ means the villagers and disbelievers who beat him and hated him. Those persons upon whom the boy wants to take revenge are ‘they’ (them) who are cowards.
- In the description of the ghost ship, we cannot find a clear distinction between reality and fantasy. There are other cases too where we can’t find clear differences, such as,… …gloomy beams transfigured the village into an incompetent of glowing house and streets of violence deserts every fifteen seconds,… …to stay very late on the beach to listen to the wind’s might harp,… …the soundest sleeping dragons in the prehistoric jungle that began with the last streets of the village and ended on the other side of the world, The above descriptions are very lively and realistic description.
- The writer presents the description of concrete and visual details in the story. What the boatman really saw in the sea was “the lovemaking of Manta says in a springtime sponge, pink snappers and blue corvine diving into the other wells of softer waters that were among the waters, and even the wandering hairs of victims of downing in some colonial shipwreck…” This type of description is very much realistic.
- As it is written in the style of stream of consciousness, it doesn’t focus on the other experience of the protagonists, which is the main characteristic of such style. The story focuses only on the main characters’, internal thoughts and feelings. In such style of writing, outer experience, dialogue, objective descriptions are not used. The incidents of the story develop with the interior monologue of the protagonist. The mental moment is forwarded. The grand triumph feeling of the boy about the private vision upon disbelievers is internally related to the journey and visions are also his private feelings. The boy feels with a strong desire to get success over the disbelievers when they beat him about his false shouting of the ship.
Important Questions and Answers:
1. What do you think is meaning of the boy’s newly discovered ability near the end of the story to control the ship’s movement ? ( जहाजको गतिलाई नियन्त्रण गर्ने केटाको क्षमता भनेर कथाको अन्त्यमा भनिएको छ। त्यसको अर्थ के होला जस्तो लाग्दछ ? )
Ans: The meaning of the boy’s newly discovered ability to control the ship’s movement is the boy’s newly developed capacity to handle his imaginative vision successfully. It is the artist’s capacity to give shape to his writing, his skill to deal with words imaginatively and fruitfully. The boy in the story has so much of his leftover anger that he becomes matured through his own will power. He is not all taken away by emotions. He develops the capacity to exhibit his strength successfully.
2. What is the protagonist asserting when he brings “the largest ocean liner in this world and the other” in the village ? ( यो र अर्को संसारमा हुने विशाल जहाजभन्दा पनि ठूलो जहाज गाउँमा ल्याएको छु भनेर प्रमुख पात्रले के भन्न खोजेको हो? )
Ans: The protagonist says that he has brought “the largest ocean liner in this world and the other” into his village. By this, he asserts his ability and merit. People of his village (disbelievers) did not believe that he could do any such great thing. But he proves his power to their surprise. He can now independently control his fate.
3. What does it mean when the boys say “Now they are going to see who I am …..”
Ans: In the story, “Now they are going to see who I am” is repeated like a refrain in a song or poem. This is the major expression in the text. The boy is trying to prove his capacity with the newly gained control over his ship or vision or medium. He is asserting again and again that he is not like what other people think of him. Though he goes to the villagers’ and tells them that he has seen the ocean liner, too huge to be convinced by the ordinary men, the villagers do not believe him. When they do not see it, they beat the boy and ignore him. He makes many attempts but fails to prove until the end when he speaks again “Now they are going to see who I am”.
You May Choose Below Answer:
Ans: The incidents of the story develop with the interior monologue of the protagonist. The mental moment is forwarded. The grand triumph feeling of the boy about the private vision upon disbelievers is internally related to the journey and visions are also his private feelings. The boy feels with a strong desire to get success over the disbelievers when they beat him about his false shouting of the ship.
The refrain is a powerful expression in the story. As the story is written in the “Stream of Consciousness” style, it captures the flow of the consciousness. The narrator reports what passes in the mind of the boy as he brings the largest ship, ever existed anywhere, to the village. He is telling again and again that he has been misunderstood and misjudged. He makes many attempts but fails to prove himself until the end when he is able to show the huge ocean liner to the people. He now is fully convinced and determined of his own power when he sees the ship. So he says, ‘Now they’re going to see who I am’.
4. Narrate the story of a boy’s growth from an ordinary boy to an assertive young man.
The story “The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship” is about maturity, the consciousness of the boy rather than the appearance and disappearance of the ship. Explain.
How does the boy prove his maturity at the end of the story? [2073 Partial]
Ans: Many years ago, the boy had seen a large and tall ship without any light and sound. One night the large ship passed his village and sailed to the other side of the sea. The strangest thing about the ship was that it appeared in the dark and disappeared in the light. The ship moved to the sandy bank and sank in the sea.
The next day, he thought that it was a dream. The boy was growing every day. He saw the ghost ship again in the next March. This time he was sure that this was not a dream. He told his mother and other people about the ship but nobody believed him. Later, his mother died and the orphan boy was hated and beaten by the villagers. He was alone. So he had to face many difficulties. Isolation, anger, troubles, and hatred of the people made him strong and assertive. He determined to show the cowards who he was. The ship reappeared and the boy guided the ship to the village church. Finally, the boy proved himself matured, strong and adventurous by showing the existence of the large Ghost ship to the disbelievers. In this way, he proves his maturity at the end of the story.
5. Why did the boy have to prove who he was?
Ans: The boy saw the ghost ship and told many people about it but nobody believed him. So, the boy had to prove who he was by showing the existence of the large ghost ship because the villagers didn’t believe him and beat him. So he called the villagers cowards and decided to prove his power by bringing the ship to the shore.
6. What is the strangest thing about the ghost ship?
Ans: Many years ago the boy had seen a huge ship without lights and sounds. It seemed like a lifeless village. It was long and tall. One night the ship passed by his village and sailed to the other side of the sea. The strangest thing about the ghost ship was that it appeared in the dark and disappeared in the light.
Questions for Practice :
- What do you think is the meaning of the boy’s newly discovered ability near the end of the story to control the ship’s movement ?
- What is the protagonist asserting when he brings “the largest ocean liner in this world and the other” into his village.