Ship Breaker

1724 Words7 Pages
The science fiction novel, Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bocigolupi, is about a boy named Nailer, who works in the shipyard where he has to survive in order to live. Nailer thinks there is more to his life and believes fate will set him free. Nita, a girl who Nailer saves, can be his hope to escape the shipyard because her father is in charge of the ship yard. In order for Nailer to better his future, he has to overcome difficult challenges along his way. In an assertion, by science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin speaks of an occurring problem in the world that people aren’t noticing, but science fiction allows us to observe what is happening without actually having to experience the problem. Before actually beginning the novel, the author creates…show more content…
As he continues through the darkness of the ship, rusty pipes continue to pass him by until he gets hit by one. Bocigolupi writes, “Dust cascaded into his hair. Despite the filter mask, he started coughing as powder leaked around the poorly sealed edges” (2). As Bacigalupi gives an explicit visual of what happens in the novel, readers are not aware that Nailer symbolizes many children working in shipyards breaking apart ships. Furthermore, Nailer is wearing a mask that was given to him by his father but the mask is damaged and is the only mask his father has. However, there are adolescents doing the same work, but they do not have masks because they can’t afford them. To continue, Nailer goes further in the ship and is eventually filled in a pool of oil. Nailer is in danger because oil being more condensed and heavier than water. He is stuck in the tanker filled with oil which makes it seem like being caught in quicksand. Nailer is in a situation where his life 's in danger and has to fight in order to survive. He struggles to get out, but the more he fights the worse it gets. Nailer represents every kid working in the shipyards because at any moment their lives can be in danger and they’ll have to fight to stay alive. No child should be caught in a situation where their lives depend on it because their lives have just begun. However, Nailer’s situation in the novel reflects many kids lives where they are drowning and struggling to
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