The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World and Other Stories Literary Elements

The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World and Other Stories Literary Elements


A short story

Setting and Context

The story takes place on Wednesday in a tiny fishing village. The body of a dead man is thrown on the beach and then found by the locals.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is told from the third point of view by an omniscient narrator.

Tone and Mood

Tone is calm, thoughtful, while mood is mysterious.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The villagers are the protagonists of the story. The society which Esteban used to live in and was rejected by is the antagonist.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is people vs. self. Before Esteban, before that handsome and mysterious drowned man was thrown on the beach, they hadn’t even noticed how poor their lives were. It took them some time to realize that they can try to change their surrounding for their own benefit.


Esteban’s funeral is the climax of the story.


But when it washed up on the beach, they removed the clumps of seaweed, the jellyfish tentacles, and the remains of fish and flotsam, and only then did they see that it was a drowned man.
It doesn’t happen on a daily basis that a body of a drowned man is washed up on the beach. This foreshadows the big changes in lives of the villagers.


The men began to feel mistrust in their livers and started grumbling about why so many main-altar decorations for a stranger.
According to them, death of a stranger is less tragic than death of any of them.


The story alludes to Estevanico, the first man from Africa to set foot in the Americas, the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the sirens, Lautaro.


There is the imagery of the sea.


That was how they came to hold the most splendid funeral they could ever conceive of for an abandoned drowned man.
The paradox was in the fact that just several minutes ago the men of the village were complaining about splendidness of the funeral ceremony and wanted to throw him off the cliff, for they thought that there was no need to try so hard for a stranger.



Metonymy and Synecdoche

Metonymy is not found.
They wanted to tie an anchor from a cargo ship so that he would sink easily into the deepest waves. (The deepest waves are synecdoche that stands for the sea depth.)


The whistling of the wind died down and the sea fell into its Wednesday drowsiness.

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