Salvatore : one quality shone with a radiance in Salvatore


Salvatore by W. Somerset Maugham

Question : According to the author, which one quality shone with a radiance in Salvatore ? Give reason to support your answer.

Answer :  Salvatore, the protagonist of the story with same name ,written by W. Somerset Maugham, is an ordinary fisherman who is cheerful, kind hearted, pleasant and hard working man. He is an embodiment of the loveliest and the rarest quality anyone can aspire for – it is his inherent goodness and due to this goodness he appeals to the readers most.

          The story is a biographical account in chronological order and the author directly communicates with the readers both at the beginning and at the end to tell the purpose of the story. The purpose of the story is to bring forward the inner beauty of a man –  his goodness which makes this ordinary man, extraordinary.

         The inherent goodness shone with radiance in several occasions –

  • Salvatore’ s concern for his Brothers 

                 Salvatore being a responsible and caring eldest brother used to take care of his two younger brothers. As his duty and out of love he would not let them venture too far in the sea. He would also dress them appropriately when they had to climb the  hot vine clad  hill for the midday meal. 

  •  Salvatore’s Endurance

         Salvatore went on naval duty to far off China. Salvatore, a young heart, in love with a beautiful girl, had to left his island which he had never left in his life before. He did not rage, nor did he try to evade, but  he remained there with a sense of responsibility and a little patriotism. “He wept like a child” as he missed his home and the girl badly. 

       In far away China, he was crippled by rheumatism, he was kept in a hospital for several months he ” bore it with mute and uncomprehending patience of a dog.” When he learnt that the disease made him unfit for further service he took the misfortune in its stride. 

 “his heart exulted, for he could go home”.    


     Even when rheumatism ” racked his limbs” with pain he would    ” lie about the beach ” with a ” pleasant word for everyone”. Despite all his sufferings he had a positive outlook towards life. 

  • Salvatore’s Respect for the Girl he loved

            When he came back from his military service he couldn’t spot his beloved in the shore among the crowd  gathered to welcome him, he was shocked, but the deadliest blow was yet to come. The girls mother bluntly told him that her daughter would not marry ” a man who would  never be strong enough to work like a man.” 

         Now, Salvatore’s inherent goodness came to forefront when he didnot blame the girl. ” He was terribly unhappy, but he did not blame the girl.” 
       Salvatore was brokenhearted. He wept on his mother’s bosom. He understood that ” a girl could not afford to marry a man who might not be able to support her.” 

     His smile was very sad and his eyes had ” the look of a dog that has been beaten,” but neither did he complain, nor he uttered any harsh words for her.

  • Salvatore’s married life

            Salvatore then married another girl, named Assunta. He was never rude to her but happily accept her as his wife. He still wore his ingenuous smile. He became a loving husband and a doting father. He toiled to make his living . In his family of his two children and his wife Assunta, he found bliss and fulfilment. 

     As a young boy he used to take care his two brothers ; on growing old nothing changed except he became a happy father of two sons. He used to work hard to support his family and when pain racked his limbs, he would simply ” lie about the beach, smoking cigarettes, with a pleasant word for everyone. ” 

      Thus as the author says – 

         Salvatore ” possessed nothing in the world except a quality which is rarest, the most precious and the loveliest that anyone can have” i.e. goodness.

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