This isn't so much of a book review as it is an analysis. With that being said, here are my thoughts on The Sea Devil by Arthur Gordon.
Narrative Structure (may contain spoilers)
Exposition: The exposition of the story is when we are introduced to the man and we start figuring out who he is, where he is and what he is doing. He also introduces the fish - mullet - which turned out to be a significance to the end of the story.
Rising Action: The rising action of the story is when the man finds out that he has caught "the sea devil" because it is at that moment when the calm of the ocean became terrifying and blood-curdling to the man.
Climax: The climax of the story is when we find out about the barnacles. This put a lot of questions in the readers mind. Are they going to save the man's life?
Falling Action: The falling action came as he rose slowly to the surface and onward from that point. We knew that the man was going to live from his experience, and that the barnacles had, indeed, saved him.
Conclusion: At the beginning of the story the exposition includes a mullet. The conclusion is the part where it goes back to the idea of the mullet - a zinger at the end of a story.
There was pretty much only one character in this book, that character being "the man". Initially, I found it hard to relate to him, because he was older then me. Even though he was only older by a few years, it seemed to me - from how he acted and what he did - that he was actually in his 50s or 60s. After this thought, I just couldn't get the picture of a senior out of my head. Yes, there also was a wife in story, although she was quite a ghost. I can't remember a time that she was in the story, and it made me think as the man as lonely. In the long run, I think this effected my "old man" thought.
I also wondered, "Why doesn't he have a name? Why is he always referred to as 'the man' rather then 'Ken' or 'Mr. Smith'." After further investigation, I came to the conclusion that the author probably wanted to focus on how the sea devil looked/the plot rather then the name that Grandpa Smith was given as a baby. Also, it was easier for readers to melt themselves into the character's shell, and to walk through the story in the man's shoes.
I think that the theme of this short story was the ocean, and not just the ocean, but the things that live in it. The author really put emphasis on the sea life. Of course, there was the sea devil, but there was also the barnacles, mullet, and porpoise that actually played a large role in the story.
I like how when the man sniffed in the salty air, I could sniff in the salty air as well. You see, I actually read this while I was on Vancouver Island, so I was really close to the ocean. It was actually really cool, and I feel like I could relate to the man more. In the long run, it made the reading experience so much better. I was in the story, rather then reading it.
This short story was very enjoyable, and I defiantly recommend you give it a go, especially if you are anywhere near the ocean. You can find it here: http://mrsgrubb.com/PDFfiles/The_Sea_Devil.pdf