I'm given a project to do some character analysis of Ward Beach, an American fossil hunter from a short story by Anthony Doerr called Mkondo, and I'm pretty much stuck.
It was something like this :
The date for his return ticket passed, his visa expired, his malaria medication ran out. He wrote the museum to beg a month of unpaid leave. The Long Rains came: violent showers followed by choking humidity, steam in the streets, rainbows on the mountains. Sometimes a deluge swept goats into the river by his hotel. From his balcony Ward would watch them drift past, speeding between the banks, paddling hard to keep their noses above the water, and he felt sometimes that he was like those goats, swept up in circumstances beyond his control, swimming hard against the current, churning with silent desperation. Maybe living was no more than getting swept over a riverbed and eventually out to sea, no choices to make, only the vast, formless ocean ahead, the frothing waves, the lightless tomb of its depths.
Every day he sent a driver into the mountains with a gift: desiccated moths, fossilized corals, a blue jar with eight tiny medusae floating inside. Three swallowtail butterflies pinned to velvet in a small plastic case. Returning to his hotel, his heart sounding evenly in his chest, Ward began to feel the glimmers of something burgeoning inside, a strange and bottomless strength emerging from the pit of him. Flesh fell from his body. His appetite was endless. By the middle of May he could run and keep running and felt, suddenly one morning, moving out past the basket merchants and the clay pits south of town, the vast pan of the sea glittering before him and the blue smoke of charcoal fires hanging above the beaches, that he could run forever.
It wasn’t until late May that Ward drove north once more, across the Pangani, up the intricate, rutted roads, above the plantations, and into the rainforest. His legs crackled with a new energy—she would not get away this time. She met him at the door, breathless: he had brought his last gift. He stood trembling with his fists balled at his sides and watched her unwrap the silver ribbon from the box. Inside was a living monarch butterfly. It danced from between her hands and began to wander through the house. "It was sent here from the museum in a cocoon," Ward said, watching it bump against the ceiling. It must have just emerged.
Naima was looking at him. "You look different," she said. "You’ve changed." All through dinner her attention passed over his face, his arms, the veins on the backs of hands. She lit a paraffin candle on the table and a twisting reflection of the flame stood twinned in her eyes. "I’ve come," he announced, "to ask you to come home with me and be my wife."