In the exposition of “Survivor Type,” we see a doctor named Richard Pine, a drug dealer, stranded on an island that is 190 paces wide and 267 paces long. He was traveling to San Francisco to sell heroin when his cruise ship, the Callas, exploded and sank. The protagonist, Richard Pine, is a flat and static character. The author uses the protagonist’s background story to tell us that he is a direct character. The conflict in the story presents itself as man versus self because despite his efforts, he eventually gives into his weakness, his hands-- which he values immensely. These also symbolize hope because he is determined to get off the island and use them again as a surgeon.
"Two days since the storm washed me up."
In the rising action of “Survivor Type,” Richard has no food; ergo, is forced to eat a raw gull. He also breaks his ankle while trying to catch the attention of a plane. After this comes the first thought of amputation. A theme of the story is self-preservation can provoke inhumane actions. Richard Pine introduces this theme by going against one’s humanity and devouring himself. Another theme of the story is shameful behavior promotes guilt. At the end of the story, Pine has a dream of Father Hailly, his priest, bashing him for wrongful doings. Guilt: “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars Self-preservation: “Warrior” by Demi Lovato
"I got my other hand on its miserable neck and broke it. The sound gave me great satisfaction."
In the climax of “Survivor Type,” Richard Pine finally decides to amputate his foot. Despite being a drug dealer, he had never used heroin before but was forced to use it for this operation. He later decides that he has no other option than to eat it. Although he cherished his hands, they become scratched and were slowly destroyed on rocks. “Shaky hands, like an old man. Hate them. Blood under the fingernails. Scabs” (King 11). Throughout the climax, the author shows the conflict of man versus self through reluctant cannibalism from the protagonist.
"I dreamed about him last night, Father Hailly in his black bathrobe, and his whiskey nose, shaking his finger at me and saying, 'Shame on you, Richard Pinzetti . . . a mortal sin . . . damt to hell, boy . . .damt to hell . . .' "
"lady fingers they taste just like lady fingers [sic] "
It is assumed that Richard Pine dies on the island because of the fact that the diary was not destroyed. It seems impossible that he could have survived the mental and physical conditions that he was in. In “Survivor Type,” Stephen King uses hands to symbolize hope, which combined with details that describe self-preservation provoking inhumane actions allow readers to experience the will of human survival and consider the possible decisions one would have to make to live.
In the falling action of “Survivor Type,” Pine’s mind progressively diminishes and you can see this through his writing in the diary. "Hey man I'm just a poor stoned crab can you spare me a dime. Hahahaha [sic]" (King 12). His body deteriorates and he continues to eat himself. Pine dreams about his guilt and regrets in life. He eventually eats his hands, which shows that he has completely given up all hope of survival.