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The Shipping News

Annie Proulx

Chapters 7–9

Chapters 4–6

Chapters 7–9, page 2

page 1 of 2

Chapter 7: The Gammy Bird

On the way to his first day of work, Quoyle sees a woman with a child walking along the road. He arrives at The Gammy Bird newspaper office, he meets the staff, a rich cast of local color. They include the likes of Tert Card, the crusty, sarcastic managing editor; Billy Pretty who writes the Home News page; and Nutbeem who plagiarizes foreign news stories. After observing a few newsroom arguments, Quoyle settles in to acquaint himself with the paper, which includes a borage of ads, a hilarious gossip section, and numerous sexual abuse stories. His second day of work, Quoyle meets Jack Buggit, an old fisherman turned newspaper editor. Buggit reels into a long monologue, telling of his old fishing days, and explains that he was supposed to work in the glove factory by Quoyle's house except that they had no leather nor anyone who knew how to make gloves. Buggit then figured that if there had been a newspaper to give him that news, he would have saved a trip. He tells Quoyle that they will get along as long as Quoyle does not try to offer any "journalism ideas" (and basically does not question Buggit's authority). He ends by telling Quoyle that Quoyle will be responsible for the shipping news and car wrecks.

Chapter 8: A Slippery Hitch

Back in their hotel room, Quoyle dreads the idea of covering car wrecks since it reminds him of Petal's death. The aunt tells him that he must face his life and go through with it. She feels they need to get out of the hotel room, and suggests that Quoyle get a boat, since that would be the easiest way to commute from the family house to the newspaper. Quoyle is paranoid of a boat, being afraid of water in general.

At the newspaper, Quoyle finds out that Dennis, the man helping them fix up the family house, is Jack Buggit's son. Jack had a falling out with Dennis after they lost Dennis's brother, Jesson. Jack is out that day, which seems to be the usual routine. Nutbeem is supposed to be covering a fire, but he ends up talking to Billy Pretty and Quoyle about his boat. After a long terrible bike ride, Nutbeem promised himself he would spend the rest of his life on the water. Nutbeem's story gets cut off when he finally goes to the fire. Quoyle is sent to the harbormaster's office to get the shipping news.

Chapter 9: The Mooring Hitch

Diddy Shovel used to be known for his physical strength, but now his most outstanding characteristic is his deep voice. Quoyle fixates on a painting of a shipwreck, while Diddy Shovel pulls up the notebooks of ship arrivals and departures. He shows Quoyle The Polar Grinder, a boat in the harbor that transports sushi for Japanese trading. Diddy tells Quoyle the story of Jack and Dennis Buggit. Jack has always feared the sea, although he spends all his time fishing. After Jesson died at sea, Dennis, against his father's wishes, signed up to be a carpenter on The Polar Grinder. Diddy then gives a graphic account of a terrible storm in which the ship was caught. He gets interrupted with a phone call before he can tell Quoyle what happened to Dennis.

Quoyle goes down to the wharf and buys a boat for only fifty dollars. He also sees the same woman in the slicker again, finding her striking. Back at the newsroom, Billy Pretty and Tert Card take one look at it and deprecate him for buying such a terrible boat.


These chapters introduce a whole new cast of characters in the town of Killick- Claw. Proulx establishes a rich sense of local color through the newsroom characters. Most all the characters at The Gammy Bird are old fisherman. The newspaper is such a peculiar subculture that Quoyle feels like he is in the school playground "watching others play games whose rules he didn't know."

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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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