The Wreck (Maupassant)

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The Wreck
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man and an English family became stranded on a wrecked ship during a rising tide, spending a cold, fearful night together before being rescued the next day.

A man named Georges Garin recounted a story from his past when he was an inspector for a Maritime Insurance Company. He was sent to the island of Ré to examine a shipwrecked three-master of St. Nazaire. Upon arriving at the island, he walked across the sands to the wreck, which was stranded far from the shore.

I was astounded. This almost invisible object, which I had taken for a reef, seemed to me to lie at least three kilometres from land.

As he inspected the ship, he heard voices and discovered an Englishman and his three daughters exploring the wreck as well.

The Narrator — narrator; an inspector for a maritime insurance company; around 30 years old at the time of the story.
The Englishman — father of three daughters; tall, lean, with a red face and white whiskers; calm and serious.

As they were talking, the tide began to rise rapidly, trapping them on the ship.

We stayed up there a quarter of an hour, half an hour, I really don’t know how long, watching the yellow water that deepened all round us, and swirled and seemed to boil and leap for joy over the wide recaptured shore.

They huddled together for warmth and comfort, with Georges feeling a strong attraction to the eldest daughter.

The Eldest English Daughter — around 18 years old; fair-haired, blue-eyed, charming, and dainty; speaks some French.

As the night wore on, the wind picked up and the ship began to roll, causing them to fear for their lives. However, they were eventually rescued by a boat sent by the hotel landlord who had anticipated their predicament.

After their rescue, they shared a meal together before parting ways. Georges and the eldest daughter kept in touch through letters, but never saw each other again. She eventually married and had children, while Georges continued to reminisce about their time together on the shipwreck.