Racked on an Afterlife Rock: Survival of the Centre at the Margin of Doom in William Golding’s Pincher Martin

  • Bishnupada Ray


This paper intends to analyse William Golding’s 1956 novel Pincher Martin in the light of decolonisation and the resultant loss of empire and also their effect on the British psyche. That the novel is usually read a moral tale of salvation and damnation, but it can also be read as a reflex action of a dead colonialist’s consciousness or a psychological reaction to the end of colonies. This consciousness gathers itself as a centre and continues to act in the line of colonialism even after his death, without even being aware of his death. Apparently a survivor of a torpedo attack, Pincher Martin finds himself on a rock, which can be seen as a margin and which he tries to dominate and subjugate by using the tools of colonialism. However, this diehard colonialist is destroyed and defeated on the rock by black lightning. The novel is a moral allegory, but it is also an allegory of the confrontation of the centre and the margin presented in geographical terms. Geographically Great Britain is an island, and its expansion through colonialism is a part of its ‘island complex’ and claustrophobia.

Keywords: Colonialism, Consciousness, Centre, Margin, Geography of the mind, Chaos.


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Author Biography

Bishnupada Ray

Bishnupada Ray is an associate professor of English at the University of North Bengal. His articles have appeared in many journals and edited books.


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How to Cite
Ray, B. “Racked on an Afterlife Rock: Survival of the Centre at the Margin of Doom in William Golding’s Pincher Martin”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 9, no. 1, Feb. 2022, pp. 60-85, doi:10.201411/clri.v9i1.1038.
Research Papers