Annie Proulx

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Alex Wyllie
Dr. Bassett
IB English HL
October 4 2008
The Pricking Thorns of Misplaced Love
In Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News the main character Quoyle is constantly plagued by the ill placed love and vision of his wretched late wife. Quoyle is introduced and characterized as a lame excuse for a man who “survives” through parts of his life (Proulx 1). From the beginning of his life both his father and brother view him as a “failure” (Proulx 2). These two being the only two family members he grows up with this is the way that Quoyle is made to think that love is. Quoyle’s relationship with Petal Bear plagues his existence and almost forces him to lose his chance at redemption. The Shipping News is a book about a man named Quoyle and his struggle through life ultimately leading to a point later in his life when he can gain a sort of redemption. From the beginning of his life he tends to fail at various elements of life. This carries over for most of his life through the point in which he becomes a newsman. At the “Mockingburg Record”his general failure carries over into his writing that generally needs to be re-written. He at this point in the novel he meets his soon to be wife Petal Bear. Petal entrances Quoyle and by being the only person to allow him to feel happiness for “a month of fiery happiness” which was followed by “six kinked years of suffering” (13). The novel then goes on to describe Petal’s unfaithful nature and her audacity about it;this ends with Petal’s abrupt death. From this point Quoyle’s “Aunt” comes and whisks Quoyle and his two children to their “ancestral home”,Newfoundland. Upon arriving there he adopts his family’s old house and takes up a job at the local paper “The Gammy Bird”. Truly the paper is a metaphor for his life as he gets better as a writer his quality of life improves also, to the point in which he can have a healthyrelationship with a new woman. The significance of writing in terms of metaphorical prevalence...
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