Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Arthur Gordon Pym was born the son of a respectable trader in Nantucket. While still young, he attends an academy and there meets Augustus Barnard, the son of a sea captain, and the two become close friends. One night after a party, Augustus wakes Pym from his sleep, and together they set off for the harbor. There, Augustus takes charge of a small boat, and they head out to sea.
Before long, Pym, seeing that his companion is unconscious, realizes the sad truth of the escapade. Augustus is drunk and, now in the cold weather, is lapsing into insensibility. As a result, their boat is run down by a whaler, and the two narrowly escape with their lives. They are taken aboard the ship that had run them down and returned to port at Nantucket.
The two friends become even more intimate after this escapade. Captain Barnard had been preparing to fit out the Grampus, an old sailing hulk, for a voyage on which Augustus was to accompany him. Against his father’s wishes, Pym plans to sail with his friend. Since Captain Barnard would not willingly allow Pym to sail without his father’s permission, the two boys decide to smuggle Pym aboard and hide him in the hold until the ship should be so far at sea that the Captain would not turn back.
At first, everything goes according to schedule. Pym is hidden below in a large box with a store of water and food to last him approximately four days. At the end of the fourth day, Pym finds that his...
(The entire section is 1228 words.)
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