Building Understanding: Hubris

Which Essential Question(s) is addressed in this piece of literature? Content:

a)     What happens in the text/movie/Talk?

b)     What is the main message/theme?


How does the text answer the EQ(s)?

Answer in full sentences. Record relevant quotes and page numbers/lines if needed.

1.      Why is perserverance important in life?

2.      What is the relationship between humans and nature?





A man sets out into the wild, on a hunt , in the desperate pursuit of solitude. However, unfortunate circumstances begin to get the better of him, and he is thrown in a potentially fatal situation. The man has been thrown in this situation due to his own arrogance of his own abilities, and almost-blind determination may get him out. Pure chance proves to be game-changer, whether for the victory of man or nature, that changes on the story.

Theme: If one is arrogant, nature may get the advantage.


Both stories take place in a hostile environment (Ocean, no one around – Sea Devil, mountains of Alberta, winter – Mountain Journey), where nature is unforgiving and apathetic when man is suffering, on the brink of death. Both men have the determination to make it to their goal, the Sea Devil’s just wanting to survive while Dave Conroy wants to make it to the cabins. While their arrogance gets them in the situation in the first place, the situation that pits them against nature (vs manta ray and drowning – SD, vs the cold – MJ), it is determination that helps to get them out of it. Unfortunately, in the case of Conroy, he escapes the fight by dying, but determination got him to that point nonetheless. The man in the Sea Devil uses his perserverence to just keep himself above water (“The man had his lungs full of air, but when the stake snapped, he thought of expelling the air and inhaling the water so to have it finished quickly. But he did not do it.” pg. 39), until he is blessed with good luck (the arrival of the porpoise). However, David Conroy experiences bad luck again and again, and only finds more from mislead determination (“…called to his weary body to stop. But two hours of daylight remained, and he went on.” Pg. 92) Both stories show that perserverance is important in life because it helps the person carry on, and find the ending to their battle, whether it be victory or loss.


The Sea Devil and A Mountain Journey focus on man’s relationship with nature by showcasing man’s ignorance towards it. Both stories’ protagonists are men who believe themselves above nature, such as when both characters set out on their journeys alone, knowing full well of the danger that lays before them. However, nature bites back, yet it is only the fisherman that is humbled by the end. Dave Conroy goes out unprepared, alone, but with a heightened sense of self – he is much too confident in his own abilities. He himself states that “a man was a fool to travel alone in the mountains”, yet does not attribute this to himself because he believes himself to not be a fool. The man in The Sea Devil almost drowns at the hands (flaps?) of a manta ray, but once he is given salvation from that of nature (the porpoise), he survives and finally acknowledges that he is not stronger than the earth on which he resides (“He would do no more casting alone at night. No, not he.” Pg. 41). This can be linked back to why he survived, yet Conroy did not. The man knows he has himself to blame, so nature may have relinquished its hold. But Conroy does not believe he did anything wrong, and that is ultimately his undoing. Although these stories were written a while ago, many forms of media still attempt to answer this question, such as “MAN” by Steve Cutts. In this video, it shows a man walking through the history of the earth, and destroying everything in his path. It’s a shocking video, one that sparks outrage, initial denial, but then acceptance and hatred for the rest of the human race. One can link it back to The Sea Devil and A Mountain Journey by man’s blatant arrogance towards nature. All three characters are ignorant to their effect of nature. All three believe that they are greater than nature, and that results in their downfall. It is only the unnamed man in The Sea Devil that survives, as he is humbled by his near-death experience. All works show that when one is arrogant, and takes their Earth for granted, bad things will happen. All works suggest karma on nature’s part – that if man is arrogant, it is very possible that he will lose what he has received: life.