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The Shipping News Speech on Novel

Uploaded by joeydaprof on Jun 12, 2006

What transpires today in the contemporary world is in several ways akin to what emerged a few centuries ago when people were exploring the planet: they discovered that their world was a vast place and re-drew their maps. The world that was previously flat became spherical, and later it expanded. Subsequently, the old world views were shed frequently. People conceived new and alternate ways of thinking and ultimately, they retreated from the global masses.

“The Shipping News” explores a geographical retreat as Proulx constructs her story in Newfoundland, a place that is out of the generic, globalised world. Her symbolic reference to knots is part of her unconventionality.
In chapter one, Proulx begins with applying the rope metaphor for Quoyle.

“It (quoyle) is made on deck, so that it may be walked on if necessary.”

This alludes to Quoyle’s passive attitude and indifference to the world and all of its issues. Partridge’s character is unorthodox and does not conform to the demands of a globalised world. His father, on the other hand “admired the mystery of business-men signing papers shielded by their left arms.” Partridge’s response to this is simple, “Ah, fuck it.”
The Gammy Bird also diverges from the conventional and globalised world. Its odd structure and technique is vastly different to the Record back in Brooklyn. Quoyle comments:

“Gammy Bird was a hard bite. Looked life right in its shifty, blood-shot eye…Nothing like the Record.’”

The setting of the story in “Newfoundland” in itself is ironic as it implies a place to find oneself and depart. In the final chapter, there is a sense that Quoyle is no longer retreating from the global or anything for that matter. He sought peace, clarity and in Newfoundland, Quoyle discovers both as well as love “without pain or misery.”

Through poetry Seamus Heaney withdraws from the present, historical period into another realm and time. For instance, in “Blackberry-picking”, he takes us to a world that is full of complex joys. The personification of the Blackberry-picking process and the transient nature of these fruits make the experience all the more pleasurable and satisfying.
In stanza one, the persona begins his quest for blackberries eagerly, wanting to savour every moment of its sweetness.
“Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week the blackberries would ripen…
You ate the first one and its flesh was sweet…”
As the poem progresses, the tone of mere excitement and pleasure is...

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Uploaded by:   joeydaprof

Date:   06/12/2006

Category:   Speeches

Length:   4 pages (825 words)

Views:   5820

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