Annie Proulx's The Shipping News: Characterization, Figurative Language and Imagery

Topics: Meaning of life, Life, Abuse Pages: 2 (855 words) Published: August 16, 2011
In The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, readers can imply that the protagonist has lived a treacherous life onto which he wishes to set change upon, but cannot see the dear light of opportunity. Quoyle is an aging man, who is still learning to separate his feelings from his personal life. He wallows in misery, as day by day passes; however, he cannot help but wonder why nothing can seem to make sense to him. Annie Proulx uses characterization, figurative language and imagery to contribute to the overall meaning of the story. In the opening of the story, Quoyle is shown to be a cowardly, gutless, lump of a man, who is a failure at everything that is thrown in his life’s path. The story shows that the protagonist cannot do anything to bring his horrible life up to a decent stand point. His life has been in the deep end ever since he was a young boy. In paragraph 6, it gives a description of what he looks like. “A damp loaf of a body. At six he weighed eighty pounds…. The monstrous chin, a freakish shelf jutting from the lower face.” His description shows that he was always big and hulky. He is appalled by his own appearance, especially his massive chin that is ever so prominent on his face. Because of his imperfections, he became very self-conscious of himself. Quoyle just wants to hide himself from others because he is too afraid of that others think of him. He gives up on life, since he feels as if he does not deserve anything and cannot accomplish anything. Nothing was possible to him; nothing would help him become better. No matter what, he seemed to be very shy, embarrassed and ashamed of his body and entire life. Quoyle is just trying to go with what is thrown at him, no matter the consequence. Figurative language is used in the story to exemplify the meaning of the author’s purpose. As the story progresses, figurative language is constantly added upon. In paragraph 2, the author uses food to compare to his eating habits. “He ate prodigiously, liked a ham...
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