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4 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Shipping News

by

The Shipping News Cover

ISBN13: 9780671510053
ISBN10: 0671510053
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Discussion Points

  1. Proulx describes Quoyle as "a great damp loaf of a body." What kind of man is Quoyle? How does Proulx's sublime, comic style make you feel about him?

  2. When Quoyle writes for the Mockingburg Record he never seems to understand the dynamics of journalism, yet in writing "The Shipping News" he transforms The Gammy Bird and eventually becomes managing editor of the paper. Discuss some of the other changes Quoyle experiences from the beginning of the novel to the end.

  3. As Quoyle arrives in Newfoundland, he hears much of his family's past. In fact, there is an old relative, "some kind of fork kin," still alive in Newfoundland. Why does Quoyle avoid Nolan — seem angry at the old man from the start? Is the reason as simple as Quoyle denying where he came from, especially after learning the details of his father's relationship with the aunt?

  4. Proulx tells us the aunt is a lesbian, yet never makes a specific issue out of the aunt's sexual orientation. Does this fact add dimension to the story for you? Does it add to the aunt's character? We, as readers, assume that characters are heterosexual without needing to hear specifically about their sexual life. Does the matter-of-course way Proulx treats the aunt's sexuality help make the reader a less judgmental critic?

  5. Discuss Quoyle's relationship with Petal Bear. Can you justify his feelings for her? Even after her death, she continues to have a strong hold on him, and her memory threatens to squelch the potential of his feeling for Wavey Prowse. Is this because Quoyle doesn't understand love without pain? Both Quoyle and Wavey have experienced abusive relationships previously. How do they treat each other?

  6. Newfoundland is more than the setting for this story, it is a dreary yet engaging character onto itself. Does the cold weather and the rough life add to your enjoyment of the book?

  7. Do you think the chapter headings from The Ashley Book of Knots, The Mariner's Dictionary, and Quipus and Witches' Knots add to the atmosphere of the book? Did their humor illustrate some of Proulx's points, or did they simplify some of her issues? Notice especially the headings for chapters 2, 4, 28, 32, 33, and 34.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

gift giver, August 6, 2012 (view all comments by gift giver)
I thought I would share some advice I received prior to reading the book because I ended up really appreciating it. The advice is, keep going. The book starts out very dark and it's easy to think to one's self "oh no, what have I just committed to reading" but it really does end up getting good. Just don't watch the movie though!!!! Ugh!
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Lara Gardner, January 20, 2012 (view all comments by Lara Gardner)
Rarely has a book so completely captured the transformation of a man and the development of a life worth living. The writing is lyrical and unique, the story engaging and compelling. As Quoyle experiences moments of pure joy, so too does the reader, delighting in his metamorphosis and renewal. This is a book to read and digest, then pick up and read again. I've read it over thirty times and each time I discover something new. I could not recommend a book more.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Jena, June 25, 2009 (view all comments by Jena)
I really enjoyed the characters in this book, and even if I wasn't so crazy about the last couple pages, it's definitely a worthwhile read. (Make sure you familiarize yourself with Newfoundland accents first--it will help.)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780671510053
Author:
Proulx, E. Annie
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Author:
Proulx, Annie
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Newfoundland
Subject:
Newfoundland Fiction.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
pulitzer; national book award; pen/faulkner; dos passos prize; o. henry prize; newfoundland; ashley book of knots; brokeback mountain; bird cloud; bad dirt; close range; wyoming; kevin spacey; julianne moore; judy dench; cate blanchett; ang lee; heath led
Subject:
pulitzer; national book award; pen/faulkner; dos passos prize; o. henry prize; newfoundland; ashley book of knots; brokeback mountain; bird cloud; bad dirt; close range; wyoming; kevin spacey; julianne moore; judy dench; cate blanchett; ang lee; heath led
Subject:
pulitzer; national book award; pen/faulkner; dos passos prize; o. henry prize; newfoundland; ashley book of knots; brokeback mountain; bird cloud; bad dirt; close range; wyoming; kevin spacey; julianne moore; judy dench; cate blanchett; ang lee; heath led
Subject:
pulitzer; national book award; pen/faulkner; dos passos prize; o. henry prize; newfoundland; ashley book of knots; brokeback mountain; bird cloud; bad dirt; close range; wyoming; kevin spacey; julianne moore; judy dench; cate blanchett; ang lee; heath led
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Touchstone ed.
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
no. 104
Publication Date:
June 1994
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 10.885 oz

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » Award Winners Sale
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » National Book Award Winners
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Shipping News Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780671510053 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The writing is charged with sardonic wit — alive, funny, a little threatening; packed with brilliantly original images...and, now and then, a sentence that simply takes your breath away."
"Review" by , "The Shipping News is alive in every sense of the word...Proulx has George Eliot's gift of loving observation — her vision is wise and generous."
"Review" by , "The Shipping News is that rare creation, a lyric page-turner."
"Synopsis" by , E. Annie Proulx focuses on a Newfoundland fishing town in a tale about a third-rate newspaperman and the women in his life-- his elderly aunt and two young daughters-- who decide to resettle in their ancestral seaside home. The transformation each of the character undergoes following move is profound. A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary American family, "The Shipping News" enlightens readers to the powers of E. Annie Proulx's storytelling genius and her expert evocation of time and place. She is truly one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.
"Synopsis" by , When Quoyle's two-timing wife meets her just desserts, he retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters and family members all play a part in Quoyle's struggle to reclaim his life. As Quoyle confronts his private demons — and the unpredictable forces of nature and society — he begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery.

A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family, The Shipping News shows why Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.

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