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Colomber Analysis Essay

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H. English. 17 January 2009 “The Colomber” In the story The Colomber by Lawrence Venuti, Stefano Roi, an aspiring seafarer, is haunted by a large colomber shark. Stefano’s life proves to be a long journey of fear, obsession, misunderstanding, and regret. After his father warns him of the colomber’s curse, Stefano returns to dry land, where he begins to establish himself as a hardworking adult. Despite his busy life, “the thought of the colomber nonetheless [torments] him like a mirage that [is] fatal and fascinating at the same time; and as the days [pass], rather than disappear, it [seems] to become more insistent” (Venuti 3).

Stefano has the chance to have a relaxing and normal life, but instead he lives in constant fear and obsession of the distant fish. He believes that he is destined to be slain by the colomber. At twenty-two years of age, Stefano returns to the sea and “[sails] and [sails], and in the wake of his ship, day and night, in good weather and in storms, the colomber [trudges] along. [Stefano knows] that this [is] his curse and his penalty, and precisely for this reason, perhaps, he [does] not find the strength to sever himself from it” (Venuti 4).

Still, the thought of the colomber troubles Stefano and because he does not have the courage to face his fear of the shark, that fear persists. By not taking any risks or dealing with his fears, Stefano only makes his problems worsen. Years later, Stefano grows very old and unhappy and decides to meet the colomber in a small boat to attempt to defeat it with a harpoon. Surprisingly, the colomber speaks and tells him, “‘How much you made me swim. And you kept on fleeing. You never understood at all… I have not pursued you around the world to devour you, as you thought.

I was charged by the King of the Sea to deliver [the phosphorescent Perla del Mare]. ’” (Venuti 5). Ironically, the Perla del Mare would have given Stefano luck, power, love, and peace of mind, but Stefano was old and could not use the gift to his advantage. He refused to approach the colomber and his fears for the majority of his life, and consequently, he condemned himself to a sad and difficult life. After all, it was his own fear and foolishness that brought him to his demise. Stefano’s journey ends in the small boat, and two months later, a few fishermen find him: a skeleton with a small round stone in it’s hand.

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