Morley Callaghan’s short story, “Two Fishermen,” revolves around Michael Foster: a young, eager reporter who someday hopes to, “get a reporter’s job on a city paper” (Callaghan 3). Michael is tall, long-legged, and he is the reporter for the town’s only newspaper: the Examiner. Not only is he in charge of the only source of information around the town, he is also well-known by the townspeople, which gives him a strong presence in society.
Michael believes that Smitty, as a person, is not a man of immorality. Albeit this, his aspects change with his environment. When surrounded by a crowd, Michael’s attitude towards the hangman morphs to fit accordingly to society’s expectations. He neither helps or pelts Smitty during the attack, only struggles to find an escape. Mortimer, a large fisherman, noticed the fish Michael was holding and launched it towards Smitty. Michael saw the expression on the hangman’s face as the fish landed on the ground and it made him glow, “hot with shame” (Callaghan 8). Despite this, he values his reputation in the town more than his friendship with Smitty; he would rather be passive in the crowd than be active on his own. He prioritizes his reputation over defending Smitty.