Let me start off by saying that I am not completely content with the end of this book. If Fokir is going to die, I would rather it be in a more exciting way, like getting mauled by a tiger or something. Not getting crushed by a tree stump! What a way to go.
Anyway, when I read that part, I was reminded of our now-long-ago discussion about Kenji from No-No Boy and how he is a character that “had to” die, because he was so moral and flawless that he could not be allowed to live in this cruel world.
I wonder if the same is true for Fokir. We never hear of him doing anything objectively wrong, except for maybe allowing his son to skip school to go out on the water with him (but I would argue that since he has different values, that action isn’t wrong because all he’s trying to do is bond with Tutul and teach his son what he knows. That is admirable to me). Of course, we never actually hear from Fokir–not in narration or even much in dialogue, because of the language barrier. So what we know of him is entirely based on the other characters’ perceptions of him and a few short bits of dialogue (but even that is translated by Kanai, making it not entirely, authentically Fokir).
For the most part, then, Fokir is seen as a morally flawless character (especially since he sacrifices his life for Piya…after risking it for her on multiple occasions). I can’t really imagine an ending where he actually survives. He’s out of place in the world of people, but, as the book tells us over and over, nature/the sea isn’t a “safe escape” either. For anybody. Even Fokir, who is the most “in tune” with it. Fokir doesn’t belong anywhere, and that’s why he has to die.
Anybody else want to comment on similarities/differences between him and Kenji? Or just on if/why you believe he has to die?