ISC Echoes Salvatore : theme of love and affection



Question : Discuss the theme of love and affection in ‘Salvatore’.

Answer : In the short story ‘Salvatore‘, W. Somerset Maugham presents his main protagonist Salvatore as a combination of love and affection. He was kind loving and responsible.

  • Salvatore’s love for his family name home 

            There is a pure radiance and selflessness reflects in his attitude to his younger brother and his parents. At the tender age of only fifteen he took care of his younger brothers like a mother. He used to bring his younger brothers to the sea and took his responsibilities towards them very seriously indeed.
   “He shouted to them to come inshore when they ventured out too far and made them dress when it was time to climb  the hot, vine clad hill…..”

    Another example of his love for his family and home is when he came back home from military service , his parents and his brothers were waiting for him on the jetty and as soon as they met “there was a great deal of kissing” and they all “cried a little when they exchanged their greetings. “

  • Salvatore’s passion for the Girl 

       Salvatore was madly in love with a girl who had pretty eyes. They were affianced, but they could not marry till Salvatore had done his military service. When he went to serve as a sailor in the navy ” he wept like a child.”   It was hard for him to live in a battleship with strangers but ” it was hardest of all to be parted from the girl he loved with all his passionate young heart. “
 When Salvatore was away as a sailor, he used to write her long , passionate letters. He would tell her how much he missed her and how much he longed to go back . When he fell ill and doctors told him that he was suffering from rheumatism, ” his heart exulted, for he could go home” to the girl who was supposedly waiting for him. He didnot even bother that he would never be quite well again.

  • Salvatore’s Respect for the Girl 

          On coming back home from his military service, Salvatore was rejected by the girl he loved. The girl’s mother bluntly told him that her daughter would not marry ” a man who would never be strong enough to work like a man.”Salvatore was brokenhearted. He wept on his mother’s bosom.   ” He was terribly unhappy but he did not blame the girl.” She refused to marry him but his inherent goodness and true love that he felt for her did not allow him to say “a hard word of the girl he had loved so well.”

  • Salvatore’s love for his children 

           Salvatore got married to Assunta and they had two sons. He worked hard to support his family even though he was suffering from rheumatism. He used to work whole day in his vineyard and spent the night catching the profitable cuttlefish. 

         Salvatore was deeply attached to his children. He acted child-like with them. He loved them and used to spend quality time with them. He used to bring them down to the beach to give them bath, he would dip them in water tenderly and delicately, as if they were flowers. He would laugh with them and acted no less than a mother  to them. The author narrates – “his laugh was like the laughter of an angel. His eyes then were as candid as his child’s.”

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