Salvatore

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  • Q1

    Despite being heartbroken, Salvatore did not let anything affect his marriage to Assunta. Discuss.

    Marks:20
    Answer:

    Salvatore loved his fiancée passionately. He thought of her often and even wrote to her frequently while he was away serving in the navy. When he fell sick and returned home, she broke off the engagement blaming his illness. It was said that due to rheumatism which he had contracted in China, he would never be able to work hard. She said that her father will never allow her to marry somebody who cannot work like a man to earn his livelihood. Salvatore was shattered. The writer states that he wept like a child on his mother’s bosom.

    Nevertheless, Salvatore was a good man and it is this goodness that never allowed him to blame the girl for breaking his heart. He married a woman suggested by his mother. Her name was Assunta. She was previously engaged to a man who was killed in Africa during his tenure with the military. She was older than Salvatore and was not very good looking.

    Assuntafell in love with Salvatore the moment she saw him. Salvatore went to meet her during the High Mass on a Sunday after which he agreed to marry her. She had nothing but hatred for the girl whorejected him. She acknowledged the goodness that was in Salvatore’s heart and absolutely doted on him.

    Salvatore was a very good husband to Assunta. They had a happy life together as a family. This was possible only because Salvatore didn’t allow the failure of his previous relationship to affect his present one. He not only forgave the girl, but also made sure to do right by Assunta.

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  • Q2

    We all tend to forget the importance of the inner beauty of a person and focus more on the exterior appearance. Keeping this point in mind, describe the circumstances under which Salvatore’s fiancée refuses to marry him.

    Marks:20
    Answer:

    Salvatore gets engaged to a girl who lives on the Grande Marina. The author describes her as a girl whose eyes are the colour of forest pools and who carries herself as if she were the daughter of the Caesars. The girl is, beyond any doubt, beautiful. Butlater in the story, we discover that she is not one to go beyond physical appearances.

    Upon Salvatore’s return from the navy due to an illness, she chooses to believe the hearsay that Salvatore cannot work like a man ever in his life. The girl ends up breaking their engagement and his heart. Here we see a fine example of the human fallibility which makes us fail to see the inner world of goodness that a person can possess. Salvatore’s fiancée only takes into consideration his ‘supposed’ disability and fails to see the heart and mind that he has. Morals seem insignificant when selfish interests come into play. She only thought of herself and failed to be considerate to the man who loved her with all of his heart and soul.

    But Salvatore proves her wrong. He works just as hard as any ordinary man. He not only works in his vineyard, but also goes for fishing. His disease does not succeed in disabling him. She rejected him based on the mere thought of inconvenience that she ‘might’ have to face if she were to marry a man affected by a chronic ailment such as rheumatism. This is also proved wrong as Salvatore ends up having a completely normal and happy life with Assunta.

    Through the incidents illustrated above, the author has successfully driven the idea – ‘appearances are deceptive’ home. An important moral lesson is also imparted through the story – that of the importance of the inner beauty of a person. We should learn to look beyond appearances, as Salvatore did and as a result, he lived happily ever after.

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  • Q3

    Through the story ‘Salvatore’, Maugham has put forth two ideas - that people often prefer to talk about themselves rather than hear about the goodness of another person and that people tend to believe hearsay and not the person himself. How far do you agree with the statement? Taking examples from the story elucidate your opinion.

    Marks:20
    Answer:

    Maugham begins his story with the sentence – “I wonder if I can do it.” He explains at the end, “I wanted to draw your attention for a few pages whilst I drew a portrait of an ordinary fisherman who possessed nothing in the world except a quality.” The author undoubtedly accomplishes this task through a spellbinding narrative that is the story ‘Salvatore’.

    Salvatore possesses a unique virtue – goodness, that too in abundance. It is normally observed that it is difficult to hold the attention of people when we are not talking about anything which directly concerns or affects them. But, it is not impossible. The author understands the difficulty of putting forth a story devoid of any thrills or frills. Salvatore is a story about a simple man’s goodness of heart and uneventful life. The fact that readers not only manage to go through the story, but also enjoy it makes it very clear that the author’s position is not completely true.

    The second argument that Maugham puts forth is that human beings tend to find hearsay more believable than the person himself/herself. This seems to be an observation rather than a hypothesis. It is mostly true as we come across such instances frequently on a day to day basis. Salvatore’s fiancée and her mother are the best examples to validate this statement. Both of them choose to believe the hearsay that Salvatore cannot work like a man ever in his life. The girl ends up breaking their engagement and his heart. Salvatore proves her wrong. He works just as hard as any ordinary man. He not only works in his vineyard, but also goes for fishing. His disease does not succeed in disabling him as most people on the island, including the girl and her family chose to believe. This proves that it is better to believe what a person says rather than believing hearsay.

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  • Q4

    The fact that inner beauty of a person is far more important than exterior appearances is perhaps the biggest takeaway from the chapter ‘Salvatore’. Keeping this in mind, discuss how Salvatore possesses in abundance the quality of ‘goodness’.

    Marks:20
    Answer:

    Salvatore is a story that successfully captures the imagination of the readers. Though it simply presents the portrait of an ordinary fisherman, it enthrals the readers. The author describes salvator as a boy and later a man with a pleasant face, laughing mouth and carefree eyes. Throughout his life, he has been kind and loving. He falls in love with a girl who lives on the Grande Marina and is betrothed to her. With a heavy heart, he leaves her to serve his country. During his service, he contracts some kind of rheumatism which affects him so gravely that he is deemed unfit to serve the military any further. The doctor tells him that he might not be able to do physically demanding tasks ever.

    His fiancée, however, refuses to marry him citing his inability to do hard manual labour as the reason. Though he is emotionally shattered at the rejection, he never blames the girl. One can clearly see how the girl is very superficial as she fails to see his caring nature.

    Salvatore then grows into a tall and husky man who works in his father’s vineyard. His mother fixes his match with a girl named Assunta who is not pretty. Salvatore agrees to marry her and does not let his failed relationship affect his marriage. Though his fiancée believed that he will never be able to do hard labour, Salvator does exactly that. He not only works hard in his vineyard, but also goes fishing. When rheumatism makes it hard for him to continue working hard, he rests on the beach with pleasant words for everyone, despite being in terrible pain.

    Salvatore and his familylead a content life. Assunta is a doting wife and he absolutely adores his sons. As the author has written towards the end, Salvatore possessed one important virtue in abundance – goodness. Without that, his life would not have been the same. If he had also judged people on the basis of appearances alone, he would never have been able to happily settle down with anyone. It is the power of his character, the goodness that ensures his happiness. That is the biggest takeaway from this lesson.

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