The Shipping News

by: Annie Proulx

Bunny

Bunny is like a litmus test that will tell if Quoyle's deleterious inheritance has been obstructed. Quoyle's preoccupation with his daughters shows the way this theme plays out in his consciousness. Paranoid that Bunny will be dysfunctional or have some kind of psychological disorder, he is filled with relief when she comes home from the first day of school psychologically unscathed. Of course the most prominent symbol of the way the evil genetic line has been broken is the white dog. The white dog symbolizes the way that past generations haunt new generations, but by the end of the narrative, Bunny no longer fears this haunting. Bunny is not only protected from the ills of her ancestry, but she also proves to have a good heart, demonstrating that the chain of evil perpetration has been broken. Her instinct to push the teacher on behalf of Herry shows her ability to stand up for what is good and right.

Bunny's preoccupation with carpentry could be read symbolically as a yearning to build a better support device for herself and family. Bunny close call on the rooftop seems a warning sign about the house's ability to create a new, safe space.