Independent Novel Study
Douglas MacArthur once said, “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” In the book Ship Breakers by Paolo Bacigalupi the main character Nailer has many external and internal struggles as he strives for peace in his life. It is during these difficult trials that his true inner strength and characteristics are revealed. Nailer portrays such attributes as courage, loyalty, perseverance, and self-sacrifice, all of which are characteristics of a soldier. He would thrive as a member of the army.
First of all, a soldier must be loyal. Loyalty is defined in the dictionary as “The state of quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations” [dictionary.reference.com] Nailer shows he is loyal to his crew. In chapter Ten when Nailer and Lucky Girl make an oath to protect each other and to help each other to safety. “‘Crew up Lucky girl,’ he said. ‘I got your back, you got mine.” [Bacigalupi. 116] Nailer finds a clipper ship full of gold, silver and money. On the ship he finds a rich girl, named Nita, nicknamed Lucky Girl, and crews up with her so that he can gain riches and leave the beach and his old life behind. Slowly the oath becomes more than the riches, it becomes a relationship too. Nailer also demonstrates loyalty to his family. Nailer’s mother died when he was young but his bond with his father is very troubling. This however does not shake his loyalty towards him. When he is speaking to his Dad he shows that even though his father has a drug addiction and he beats him he is still there for him. “‘Black Ling,’ Nailer said. ‘The crew gave it to me. Said I should share it with you. Because I’m lucky for you having me.” [Bacigalupi.58] Furthermore, Nailer is loyal toward his friends. Pima’s mother, Sadna, helped Nailer get his Dad to safety during a storm. Since Nailer’s Dad owes Sadna for helping him out of the storm he can’t...
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