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The Shipping News is a stimulating and bold novel. The author's main intention of the work is the family life and its impact to social living. In addition, author has used this novel to reflect family characters which hinder some individuals into having a happy life. However, the novel criticizes immoral behaviors that revolve around the family level such as unfaithfulness, alcoholism among others. The novel illustrates social problems as results of family characters which an individual must undergo drastic changes in life to overcome.
Analysis of Major Characters in the Novel: Shipping News
He is the major character in the novel. The novel features him as the hero in whom the story moves forward. However, his life is full of tribulations in the beginning of the novel but his undergoing life changes make his life better at the end. Quoyle is an obese, unconfident and a hated man who appears to have believed that he is a failure. The transformation of his life began in Newfoundland. Here he is assigned a job of writing car accident stories and shipping news. He is not in peace because of fear of his wife's death and sea water (C. Editors).
Slowly he learns to stand to himself and gains confidence in his work. In addition he is seen to be proud of himself and his feelings of self-worth rendered him into standing up to the faults of his forefathers. This enables him to overcome his family character of hurt and wickedness. In addition, his character is strongly connected to his family and that seems to be the reason why author did not give first name.
Finally, his decisive victory appears to be more of evasion of trouble than achievement of success, nonetheless he has achieved a majestic change in life. The story begins by introducing his physical appearance which indicates failure in life but his physical disadvantage saves him when he is catapulted overboard from the water in the sea. This event made him realize that he his physical nature is a gift and since then he gained confidence in himself. The novel uses him to indicate that problems in life eventually lead to more fulfilling life in future.
She is represented as a strong woman whose role is to encourage other people in despair in the society. She is brought up in Newfoundland and appears to be the closest woman to Quoyle in the family after the death of his parents. She acted as a caretaker to Quoyle when he lost parents and got incapacitated. Author used her to move the story forward at every time when Quoyle is in despair. At the beginning of the story, Quoyle is living a miserable life and it is during this time that she appeared and gave him comfort and encouragement to his work. She encouraged him to continue with newspaper work while covering accidents which seemed tiresome to him.
On the other hand, she has pain over the past life that causes her to fade in the middle of the story. She has fierce attitude toward setting up a house which is accelerated by feebleness of her painful memories. She remembers seeing Bunny growing up in her house and hurting experience of sexual abuse. Besides, she is strong and has the confidence that she will get a new place to live before the house collapses. The author discloses her character as a lesbian and her sexual identity is treated interestingly in the narrative. Author uses sexual identity as the most telling character of an individual.
She is represented as a measure of Quoyle inheriting his parents' wealth. She suffers mental disorder which after healing indicates the broken conjunction of present and past generation. This was symbolized by a white dog and her family got peace from ending of ancestral haunts. She is honest and courageous lady who stand up for the right and her personality demonstrated that the evil family line was broken. She gets preoccupied at carpentry work which symbolizes that she is up to being supportive to the family (Proulx, At close range with Annie Proulx).
Quoyle's Life Journey
He is the novel protagonist. Physical appearance incapacitates him in life. He is an obese and has a vast chin and this makes him an established failure. Additionally, he has uninspiring personal character. He is defined as a failure from the first day by his parents. He went through many failures in life such as dropping out of college and getting employed as a third level newspaper writer. The failures continued to workplace and we are told that at the age of thirty six he is in a never-ending cycle of dismissal and rehiring (Proulx,p.32).
However, job hiccups forces him to take undignified short-term job at his editor's notion. In marriage life, life seems not promising since he has a flagrantly philandering wife who has borne him two kids. Additionally, she is unfaithful and heartless. Sometimes she brings her lovers to their home and has sex with them in the house while her husband listens. During these events, Quoyle locks himself in the bedroom silently weeping. At the end of the first Chapter, author has defined him as a coil of rope (SparkNotes Editors).
On the other hand, his life is changed abruptly and forever by speedy series of earth-shattering events. His parents, who are both diagnosed with cancer, commit suicide. His father, on dying, left a will which announced of the verdict on Quoyle's answering machine. Worst still, his editor informs him that he is permanently dismissed from work at the same time his wife decides to sell their daughters to sex traffickers but she never succeeded. Luckily, she perished in a car crash while escaping to Florida with her lover.
To the relief, he meets his Aunt, Agnis. She is a strong lady and encouraging. He opened up his problems to her. After the hearing, she advised him to move to Newfoundland which was their family's ancestral home. In addition, his friend secures him a job for writing shipping news. He packs up his daughters, aunt and their belongings and leaves for Newfoundland from New York. On arrival, they find the ancestral home unpleasant because of many years of abandonment. Soon after the arrival, a puzzling white dog haunts Bunny's imagination. His sick cousin asserts claims onto the house by placing enamored bits of knotted twines in every place around the house. Winter makes the pathway to the house impassable, Quoyle, cannot swim and is urged by his comates to acquire a boat. Though he makes some mistakes in organizing new life, he makes a good move. Surprisingly, he fixed up a home for his family near to the sea (lovers).
In conclusion, Shipping News is an emotional, moving, and a humorous novel. The author has used a rhythm that perfectly captures the attention of the person who reads, moving the person to a ruthless but stunning place where the society has people who are physically powerful. Quoyle is a hospitable dad and whose love for his daughters reveals him as a person whose power of personality is far superior than he could guess. His drastic life change is encouraging and gets the narrative to the climax.