The Shipping News

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The Shipping News

author  E. Annie Proulx

type of work  Novel

genre  Hero quest, regionalism, novel of social critique

language  English

time and place written  Early 1990's, Newfoundland and Vermont

date of first publication  1994

publisher  Simon and Schuster

narrator  Omniscient

climax  The major climax of the novel occurs at the scene of Jack's wake, when the dead man begins to cough.

protagonist  Quoyle

antagonist  Guy Quoyle, Tert Card, Nolan Quoyle, Petal Bear, social change

setting (time)  Early 1990's

setting (place)  Mostly Newfoundland

point of view  Omniscient

falling action  Dennis and Quoyle follow Jack's ambulance to the hospital, where Dennis hopes to take over his father's lobster license; Wavey and Quoyle get married.

tense  Recent Past

foreshadowing  The white dog and knotted twine foreshadow the cousin's presence in Newfoundland; Bunny's dream foreshadows the destruction of the family house; Quoyle's kiss foreshadows his marriage with Wavey.

tone  Darkly comic

themes  Social and economic change, ancestry and familial ties, regional lifestyle

motifs  Oral literature, "how-to" genre, knots and tying

symbols  Knots and tying, silver, bright colors, family house, white dog