A Love Story or an Environmental Tragedy?

In Sea Story by AS Byatt, the author tells a love story that also focuses on the environment, specifically the ocean. The main character grew up close to the shore and loved it. He expresses his love for ocean throughout the story, but does not follow his father’s career path as an oceanographer. He is a writer that evidently falls in love with a girl he met at sea. She loves the ocean dearly, but does not love him. Harold desperately tries to reconnect with Laura after she leaves for the Caribbean to work at her dream job, but by releasing the bottle with a letter to her in the ocean he is putting sea life at risk. My question is, does AS Byatt want the reader to sympathize or critique Harold for his actions?

AS Byatt makes it unclear whether or not we are supposed to feel sorry for Harold. Harold is heart broken after he was given the wrong address and email to contact Laura. He desperately tries to reach her and at the end of the story his love letter reaches Laura only after it had broken and decomposed in the ocean. The author purposefully had the letter be so close to being seen by her, but he nevertheless failed. This could create empathy for him. On the other hand, the author made the bottle go through the “Caribbean Trash Vortex.” AS Byatt thoroughly describes the all the bits of trash, their colors, variety, and immense quantity. This description was more detailed than the explanation of Harolds letter. Due to this, I think that this proves we should be skeptical of Harold and not supportive.

Harold could have been seen as a vulnerable, relatable character when he decides what bottle to use and what to put in it for Laura. He is thoughtful when he picks out Laura’s favorite drink as his bottle and AS Byatt calls him “serious” because he puts his grandfathers ring in the bottle as well. A reader could feel bad for him after reading that he really cares for her and never gets his love story with Laura. I do not think that the author wants the reader to feel this way at the end of the story. AS Byatt purposefully explains to the reader all of the harm that Harold causes. His fathers ring does not get to Laura, but it does reach a hagfish and the ring kills this animal. The bottle disintegrates and “the mollymawk tore at it and carried away a smeared strip to feed to its chicks, who would die with bellies distended by this stuff.” Furthermore, two turtles die, an eel, swooping gannets, and fish in general. The author vividly portrays all of the destruction one bottle, a letter, and a ring can cause. Without any trash in the ocean, Laura would not have had to study it and that would not have been the cause of her death. AS Byatt does not want the reader to feel bad for Harold. We should be mad at Harold for his careless mistake and we should not make the same one.

4 thoughts on “A Love Story or an Environmental Tragedy?

  1. Your opening question gave me a lot tot think about. Although you have a good point that Harold made a mistake that caused harm to hundreds of specimens, I do not believe this was his intention and therefore the reader shouldn’t hold a grudge against him. His efforts stemmed only from him falling madly in love which is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Love can change humans physical actions, relationships with other, mental health, and much more. All in all, I believe Harold did not mean to harm marine life or come off as a creep at a bar, I believe he was well-intentioned and just simply wasn’t able to let Laura go without speaking his piece. You also brought up a clever point about this piece when you said, “AS Byatt thoroughly describes the all the bits of trash, their colors, variety, and immense quantity. This description was more detailed than the explanation of Harold’s letter.” This is important because it shows that AS Byatt strongly encourages the reader to understand how careless human action can be extremely destructive to nature.

  2. The man in love was willing to do whatever it took to get his love back. I think the main idea was not to make Harold’s actions unforgivable, but more about the fact that our actions have consequences. I like this kind of work that makes you wonder if the world and our actions are so beautiful. For me, though, the example has always been America by Claude Mckay. I even wrote an essay about it which is now on https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/literary-analysis-of-the-poem-america-by-claude-mckay/ as an example of an analytical work. It’s pretty old, but how accurately the author described this country.

  3. الخطوة الأولى هي تنظيف سطح حوض السباحة باستخدام الشبكة الكاشطة، وذلك عن طريق تثبيتها بالعمود التلسكوبي، ومن ثم العمل على سحب الأوساخ والأجسام الغريبة الموجودة على سطح الماء، ويُفضل القيام بهذه الخطوة بشكلٍ يومي؛ وذلك لضمان نظافة السطح من الملوثات. تنظيف جوانب الحوض والسلالم باستخدام الفرشاة، وذلك عن طريق تثبيت الفرشاة بالعمود التلسكوبي والعمل على فرك هذه المناطق بقوةٍ لإزالة الأوساخ العالقة. تنظيف الأرضيات باستخدام المكنسة الكهربائية الخاصة، حيث يتم التنظيف باتباع الطريقة نفسها التي تُستخدم لتنظيف السجاد، وذلك عن طريق تحريك المكنسة الكهربائية على قاع حوض السباحة، مع التركيز على المناطق الأكثر اتساخاً، حيث يتم تكرار هذه العملية بشكلٍ أسبوعي، كما يجب الانتباه هنا إلى الالتزام بتعليمات وإرشادات الاستخدام المرفقة مع المكنسة، واتباعها بدقةٍ. تنظيف فلتر حمام السباحة والمنطقة المحيطة به عن طريق الفرك بقوةٍ، وإزالة الركام والأوساخ؛ وذلك لمنع انسداد الفلتر نتيجةً لتراكم الأوساخ عليه.
    صيانة مسابح بالرياض

  4. The ancient Egyptians used the Egyptian scorpions as a king’s name, a name of a nome (county), and a symbol of their Egyptian goddess, which protects the body and the viscera of the dead and accompanies them on their journey to the afterlife.