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The Lagoon ( Plot Summary, Major Theme)

  • Date Submitted: 05/19/2011 01:10 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.8 
  • Words: 870
  • Essay Grade: no grades
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Plot summary
The story that Arsat tells "tuan" (Malayan for "sir") is one of sadness and sex. Arsat tells of the time when he and his brother kidnapped Diamelen (his lover, who was previously a servant of the Rajah's wife). They all fled in a boat at night, and travelled until they were exhausted. They stopped on a bit of land jutting out into the water to rest. Soon however, they spotted a large boat of the Rajah's men coming to find them. Arsat's brother tells Diamelen and Arsat to flee to the other side where there is a fisherman's hut. He instructs them to take the fisherman's boat. The brother stays back, telling them to wait for him, while he takes care of the canoe of the pursuers. However, Arsat did everything except wait for his brother. As he pushed the boat from shore, he saw his brother running down the path, being chased by their pursuers. Arsat's brother trips and the enemy is upon him. His brother calls out to him three times, but Arsat never looked back. He betrayed his brother for a woman that he loved. Towards the end of the story, symbolically, the sun rises, and Diamelen dies. Arsat has nothing now; he doesn't have a brother or a wife. He has lost everything. He plans to return to his home village to avenge his brother's death, and die in the process. The story concludes with 'Tuan' simply leaving, and Arsat staring dejectedly into the sun and a 'world of illusion'.
The story is full of symbols and contrasts - such as the use of dark/light, black/white, sunrise/sunset, water/fire, and possibly the most important, movement/still. Arsat's clearing is still, nothing moves, yet everything outside the clearing moves. In the end of the story, motion finally enters Arsat's clearing. This symbolizes, that Arsat is finally a 'free man'. Earlier in the story his brother tells him that he is only half of a man, Diamelen has his heart, and therefore he is not whole. With Diamelen's death, Arsat becomes a whole man again, and movement enters his life once...

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