Ship Breaker

Decent Essays
Joseph Conrad once said, “It is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck”. Nailer, the main character of Paolo Bacigalupi’s book Ship Breaker, wasn’t born lucky, he was born a ship breaker. Ship breakers are child and adult laborers who spend their days starving, poor, and working away to take the anything valuable off old ships for the big companies. Throughout Nailer’s life, he has suffered through various unfortunate events. However, with a strong belief of luck and having other superstitions, his life becomes more manageable. In Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi demonstrates that being superstitious and believing in various degrees of luck allows people to more easily feel in control of uncontrollable situations. The ship…show more content…
At one point in the story, a wealthy captain asks if the people of Nailer’s society value luck. Nailer responds, “yeah, ship breakers like the lucky eye. Not much else to hang on to when you’re on the wrecks,” (Bacigalupi 253). Nailer is essentially saying that luck gives the people something to ease their worries with in their sobering reality. In the report of a research study on luck and superstition, Fluke says, “Superstitions grant an illusory sense of control over uncertainty. Indeed, research has shown that superstitious behavior increases with the uncertainty of a situation, presumably because individuals want to gain control of the uncertain situation,” (Fluke). These statements provide more proof as to why superstitious behavior and ideals are so prevalent in Nailer’s society. Superstitious behaviors allow people to feel more in control so it is evident as to why they would appear in Nailer’s society where they are mostly not in…show more content…
This is important to realize in today’s society because if believing in luck and superstition can give people a sense of control then this information can be used for the improvement of the mental states of many people of many different cultures. Superstition gave Nailer the sense of control he needed which made his life much more satisfying at the end of the book. Therefore, Conrad’s words hold true, it would be ignorant to not believe in
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