The Shipping News

by: Annie Proulx

Chapters 19–21

Finally, the suitcase carrying Bayonet's head refers to the "Dutch cringle" that titles Chapter 13. The suitcase has a rope handle that could well be tied in a cringle knot and of course, it comes from the Dutch ship. At this point, one can guess that Silver, Bayonet's wife, is probably responsible for his decapitation, just from the nature of their belligerent relationship. We recall that Petal is connected with silver throughout the book; the two women's capacity to cause violent suffering is parallel. It is also important to note that Billy teases Quoyle for acting like a "wracker"—like his ancestors—when he pulls the suitcase off the rock, and claims it for himself.