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The Shipping News

Annie Proulx

Chapters 4–6

Chapters 1–3

Chapters 4–6, page 2

page 1 of 2

Chapter 4: Cast Away

The aunt has convinced Quoyle to move himself and children with her to Newfoundland. After dreaming about Petal in a bread truck with a strange man, Quoyle realizes he needs a change in his life in order to move on. He calls Partridge to see if his old friend has any newspaper connections in Newfoundland, and Partridge, always anxious to help finds him a job.

Aunt, Quoyle, Bunny and Sunshine are on the ferry, and when the aunt sees the island, she begins to cry for her old homeland. She feels herself arriving as so many people have arrived to this island throughout history. She thinks of the "malefic spirits" that the harsh conditions here tend to breed. She also remembers her father dying, as the result of the failure of a knot tying a can hook.

Chapter 5: A Rolling Hitch

The aunt, Quoyle, and children are driving around the island, trying to get to Quoyle's Point, the location of the aunt's old home. The road to Capsize Cove, which is on the way, is old and muddy. Finally, they give up for the night, and decide to sleep the night on the side of the road. Bunny gets angry and tells Quoyle he is dumb, for which the aunt scolds her sharply.

The next day, as they head out again, Bunny dreams of blue beads that keep slipping off the string, even though she holds it with both hands. Meanwhile, the road turns to a good gravel and eventually, the group finds a concrete building, all locked up. They stop and have some tea, and the aunt sees the old house through the fog. When they climb up to it, they find it has deteriorated over the years; still, it is filled with memories for the aunt, and she is determined to fix it up. Bunny asks if Petal will come to live with them there, wishing she could wear her mother's blue beads. Alone at the back of the house, Bunny sees a white dog, that gives her a huge fright. When she comes to find Quoyle, he cannot find the animal anywhere.

Chapter 6: Between Ships

Since Quoyle's job is in Killick-Claw, the location of the house presents a problem for him. The aunt suggests he get a boat, since it would be easier to get to town across the bay, than get up the first part of the road. Since the house is not ready anyway, and the aunt wants to set up her own business (she is an upholstery maker), they decide to rent a room in town for awhile.

The aunt makes a list of what needs fixing in the house before they head back up to town. One the way, Quoyle stops for coffee and finds out the concrete structure they found used to be a glove factory. Caught in a snowstorm, the group cannot get back to Killick-Claw. They find the run-down Tickle Motel, where they stay the night. Sunshine wakes up with a nightmare, and the aunt comments that "the Old Hag's got her" referring to Petal. Quoyle feels equally tormented by Petal's ghost. The next day, they lock themselves in the hotel room, and with a dead telephone, finally resort to hanging a rescue sign in the window.

More Help

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by Anki145, August 23, 2012

Why doesn't the "The Sun Clouds Over" chapter have a "Chapter 30:" in front of it like all of the rest of the chapters do?


3 out of 7 people found this helpful

Spelling mistake

by serg06, February 26, 2014

Chapter 36, second paragraph, first sentence: "diromg" instead of "during".

Spelling mistake

by serg06, February 26, 2014

Chapter 37, paragraph 3, sentence 2: "turn7"

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