The story takes place in the wake of a catastrophic event and is essentially about the predatory nature of a human being pursuing his own narrowly-defined interests, oblivious to the loss of life that has accompanied his apparent good fortune. The main character is a scavenger, a parasite of sort, who is preoccupied with profiting from a tragedy that has killed hundreds of people. When he sees the dead woman through the steamer’s porthole, the sponger does not reflect upon her death or her life; he merely goes about his business. The irony of the tale is that as we learn more about the sinking of the ship, the callousness of the sponger, who concludes that he is the “victim,” becomes increasingly acute.
(The entire section is 124 words.)
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