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Analysis Of 'the Shipping News' By Annie Proulx Concerning The Issue 'retreat From The Global'

1527 words - 6 pages

The Shipping NewsNot so long ago, countries and communities were identifies on their culture and heritage, it was what made us unique to our homeland. But in recent years, through the breaking down of communication and social barriers, the degree of separation that once defined our culture has diminished. As a result, our unique ways, our identity is being lost. The cause of this loss, globalisation is steaming ahead at an increasing speed and poses great risks to the local communities. Sterile corporate giants consumed with wealth and materialism were now overrunning communities, which once defined who we were, by helping the individual with warm communal spirit and friendships. This can be seen in the town of Killick-Claw in the novel, "The Shipping News" by Annie Proulx. This novel reflects the contempory 'ideal' of globalisation, however also provides resistance to it through the local, in the lovable charactors in the small town community who band together to ward off the global, to save their identity. It is thus through the local, Proulx represents resistance to the global.Annie Proulx shows resistance to this mainstream through either support of the local or criticism of the global. Through the development of the main character, Proulx juxtaposes the global aspect of his life to the local, forcing a comparison of the two in order to show the reader the positive aspects of the local contrasts to the negative aspects of the global.The story begins with a jaded Quoyle, battered and bruised by his time in the global city. His only way of survival is to numb himself of the pain, to adapt to a life of misery and failure. He learnt to 'separate his feelings from his life', but more importantly, yet devastatingly he was 'going nowhere', 'waiting for his [life] to begin'. This is emphasised by the recurring metaphor of the 'spinning coin, still balanced on its rim, may fall in either direction' which acts as a symbol of Quoyle's life; in the global his identity is lost, and it is only in the local he discovers it. Proulx in fact goes to great lengths to describe the horrors of Quoyle's world in the city. She uses an extended list to describe the horrors of this world, 'terrorism, plaques, AIDS, deforestation exploding aircraft...' as well as imagery to extenuate Quoyle's circumstances, 'It was though he were a tree and she a thorny branch grafted onto his side that flexed in every wind, flailing the wounded bark'. The most important craft, however, that Proulx manipulates in order to show the reader the distinction between the global and local is the epigrams including the knots symbol. This technique is used throughout the novel, to not only foreshadow the following chapter but to also provide a metaphorical relationship to Quoyle's journey from the local to the global and his development as a person. 'Cast Away' is an excellent example of this, subtitled, 'Cast Away, to be forced from a ship by a disaster'. This quote initiates the chapter when...

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