Sample Essay On Ship Breaker
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Ship Breaker is a novel telling the story of teenage boy called Nailer who lives on a coast in New Orleans. New Orleans is covered with water due to the massive meltdown of the polar ice caps. Nailer is the main character in this novel and he is on his hero’s journey. First of all, Nailer is on his hero’s journey because the novel starts by describing him as leading an ordinary life where the reader is made to sympathize with the kind of life he is leading. Nailer is not happy with the life he leads and he dreams of travelling on a clipper ship across the blue waters. Secondly, the occurrence of a storm leaves a ship stranded and presents an opportunity for Nailer to embark on a journey. Thirdly, he faces challenges and tests during his hero journey.
The hero journey of Nailer starts with him living in an ordinary world where he scavenges for pieces of copper and valuable things obtained from tankers. Nailer is called to adventure when a storm occurs in the sea and leaves a ship stranded. Nailer saves one survivor called Nita who is a wealthy girl. Nailer faces challenges that include falling sick for three days; hiding Nita so that his father cannot sell her off; and losing Nita as she is stolen by his father and Nita’s uncle. Nailer is forced to fight with his father so as to rescue Nita. He wins the fight and saves Nita again. The journey ends when Nailer meets Nita on the beach again.
Nailer is part of a small community that scavenges oil tankers that are washed up to the shore for valuable things and small pieces of copper. The novel starts with an ordinary day for Nailer as he tries to yank some copper wire free. This action creates a cloud of dust composed of old fibers of asbestos (Bacigalupi 1). Nailer is described as going about his day by yanking more copper wires. Nailer carries a “leather bag kept at his waist” (Bacigalupi 1) so that he can store the pieces of copper and the valuable things he finds on the tankers. Nailer wears a filter mask so as to prevent himself from breathing in the dust that is filled with metals. His forehead is smeared with LED glow-paint so that he can be able to find his way into the service ducts and his way back home. He is covered with grime and his body itches, but he is careful when wiping out sweat so that he does not accidentally wipe out the LED paint (Bacigalupi 2).
Adventure comes Nailer’s way when a storm hits the ocean and wrecks a ship. The only survivor on the ship is Nita. Nita got into the ship while escaping her uncle who wanted to use her as leverage against her father so that he would be allowed to carry out an illegal business. Nailer gives Nita a nickname called “Lucky Girl”. The name is based on the fact that she was lucky enough to survive the shipwreck.
Nailer and a fellow scavenger known as Pima go to scavenge the ship and save Nita. Nailer tries to help Nita to reunite with her father, but Nailer’s father, Richard, and Nita’s uncle, Pyce, captures her from her hiding place. Nailer looks for Nita and has to fight with his father so that he can save Nita. Nailer wins the fight and saves Nita. The novel ends where Nailer and Nita meet again on the same beach where they first met each other (Bacigalupi 352).
Bacigalupi Paolo. Ship Breaker. New York: Little Brown and Company. 2011. Print.
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