The Shipping News by Annie Proulx-Navigating the Global Hsc English Extension 1

1874 Words Aug 19th, 2010 8 Pages
Extension English 1- Assessment Task 2-The Shipping News-Task 2(a) Formal Response-By Henri Rutherford

Annie Proulx’s prose fiction novel ‘The Shipping News’ explores the complexities of individual’s navigation in our modern and increasingly globalised society. Proulx would agree with the statement ‘The global cannot be all bad nor the local all good. In our lives today, the two must coexist and we must learn to navigate both’, and her text provides evidence to this effect. The novel does not present the simplistic dichotomies of the global being negative and the local being positive, but instead focuses on characters navigation through both. Proulx demonstrates that these two different and often opposite sets of values can coexist in
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She defeats, intrudes and controls Quoyle, who could be said to be a representative of the many overwhelmed and marginalized local society. This is her way of navigating a complicated world and her eventual death is a symbol, suggesting that Proulx believes this way of navigating is ineffective and that she disagrees with the things she represents.

Agnis Hamm, Quoyle’s aunt, successfully navigates and responds to the changing global world in the novel, through the useful cohesion of the global and local. We discover this information and her story in various fragments throughout the book. Agnis retreats, or more accurately withdraws, from her local birthplace of Newfoundland. This is due to various factors of the community that were affecting her adversely. It is revealed that her father raped when she was a young child. Alongside this is the depiction of the past Quoyle’s as inbreds, pirates and primitives, occupants of a parochial, limited and isolated community. This quote relating to Agnis’s move from the local shows this ‘…away from isolation, illiteracy, trousers made of worn upholstery fabric , no teeth, away from contorted thoughts and rough hands, from desperation’. Proulx’s depiction of this local community disregards the notion that the local is always good, replacing it with an anything but positive view. In this case the lack of global values and influence within the local is what leads it to being so defective.