Ship Breaker Essay Example
Ship Breaker Essay Example

Ship Breaker Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1350 words)
  • Published: November 5, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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Douglas MacArthur once said, “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. ” In the book Ship Breakers by Paolo Bacigalupi the main character Nailer has many external and internal struggles as he strives for peace in his life. It is during these difficult trials that his true inner strength and characteristics are revealed. Nailer portrays such attributes as courage, loyalty, perseverance, and self-sacrifice, all of which are characteristics of a soldier.

He would thrive as a member of the army. First of all, a soldier must be loyal. Loyalty is defined in the dictionary as “The state of quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations” [dic


tionary. reference. com] Nailer shows he is loyal to his crew. In chapter Ten when Nailer and Lucky Girl make an oath to protect each other and to help each other to safety. “‘Crew up Lucky girl,’ he said. ‘I got your back, you got mine. ” [Bacigalupi. 116] Nailer finds a clipper ship full of gold, silver and money.

On the ship he finds a rich girl, named Nita, nicknamed Lucky Girl, and crews up with her so that he can gain riches and leave the beach and his old life behind. Slowly the oath becomes more than the riches, it becomes a relationship too. Nailer also demonstrates loyalty to his family. Nailer’s mother died when he was young but his bond with his father is very troubling. This however does not shake his loyalty towards him. When he is speaking to his Dad he

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shows that even though his father has a drug addiction and he beats him he is still there for him. ‘Black Ling,’ Nailer said. ‘The crew gave it to me. Said I should share it with you. Because I’m lucky for you having me. ” [Bacigalupi. 58] Furthermore, Nailer is loyal toward his friends.

Pima’s mother, Sadna, helped Nailer get his Dad to safety during a storm. Since Nailer’s Dad owes Sadna for helping him out of the storm he can’t kill Pima or else fate will kill him. Nailer has to remind and convince his dad this, saving Pima’s life. “Pima’s mom helped me pull you out when the storm came. No one else could have. ” [Bacigalupi. 42] After Nailer’s dad finds them with Lucky Girl and all of the gold and silver, Nailer saves Pima’s life by convincing his dad not to gut her and Lucky Girl for the riches. Nailer would be a great soldier in the army as he has a strong sense of loyalty. A second characteristic of a soldier is perseverance despite the surrounding difficulties. Nailer shows perseverance when he gets stuck in a tank of oil. “It had been worth a try. He thought about the door waiting below him, It might be locked from the far side. Maybe that was why the wheel didn’t turn, maybe… If it’s locked, you die.

Same as everything. No use worrying about it. He took a deep breath and went down again. ” [Bacigalupi. 33-34] After Nailer falls into a giant tank of oil and Sloth doesn’t help him out he is forced make a life or death

decision. When Nailer fails to escape the first attempt he goes down a second time knowing that he might not make it back. His perseverance wasn’t a one shot deal. When Nailer escapes from the oil spill his shoulder is damaged. “His father said, ‘How are going to pay your way around here, if you’re off your crew? ’ ‘I’m not off,’ Nailer said. I’m back tomorrow. ’” [Bacigalupi. 55] After Nailer gets a shoulder injury he still gets back up and returns to work the next day knowing that it could easily get infected by the fumes on the ship.

Nailer also shows endurance when he is jumping the train. “The first ladder flashed past. Nailer grabbed for the second. It caught his hand and slammed him away, spinning him. His legs tangled. He fell, rolling over gravel and weeds and came to a stop. Train cars whipped past as he lay in the dirt, bruised and stunned […] Nailer scrambled to his feet.

Nita was almost gone. He started running. The end of the train was coming up. His leg bruised from the fall and he limped as he ran. […] Ladders blurred past. Again he timed them. He glanced back. The end of the train. Now or never. ” [Bacigalupi. 186] Nailer has to jump the train in order to get away from his dad and to help Lucky Girl get back home. He knows that he can easily mess up his jump and go under the wheels but he still goes for it. He goes on despite the circumstances -injuries, pain, speed of the train-these things does not deter

him from his goal.

A soldier’s perseverance is vital to his success, and Nailer demonstrates this characteristic well. Courage is defined as: “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. , without fear; bravery. ”[dictionary. reference. com] Ysabella Brave once said “You don’t get very far in life without having to be brave and awful lot because we all have our frightening moments and difficult trials and we don’t have much of a choice but to do that. The most important thing about bravery is this-it’s not about being scared-it’s about being scared and doing it anyway-that’s bravery.

Nailer exhibits courage in the face of fear when he decides to jump the train in order to find Nita’s ship in New Orleans . “Something in the way he said it got it through this time. No one tried to protest. They just accepted it and nodded, and suddenly Nailer felt as if he’d made the wrong decision. He realized that a part of him had wanted them to talk him out of it. To find a way to convince him not to run. ” [Bacigalupi. 180] Nailer was frightened to jump the train and he wanted his friends to convince him not to but he still faced his fear and went on with his plan.

Nailer had to face a lot of fear throughout the entire book. When Nailer runs into his Dad and is forced to fight him Nailer fights his fear. “Nailer backed off, fighting fear. He swiped away the blood that ran freely from his face. ” [Bacigalupi. 305] In the

end of the book Nailer had to fight his dad. His dad was a fierce fighter. At one point he remembered his Dad’s bravado. “Nailer remembered the time the time his father had beaten three opponents in the ring at the same time, on a dare. He’d been overmatched, but he’d left the others crushed and unconscious and stood over them all, bloody teeth gleaming with triumph.

The man was born to fight. ” [Bacigalupi. 305] Even though Nailer knew his dad could crush him, he overcame his fear anyway. Nailer went on to fight his dad in order to save Lucky Girl thus showing courage and self-sacrifice. An anonymous source once said, “A soldier by nature puts his life on the line for the freedom of others. ” Nailer shows courage in the face of fear, something that a soldier must demonstrate in war. In conclusion, the reader follows Nailer’s character as he struggles for peace by breaking free from his dad and his old life.

Through this struggle, Nailer learns much about himself as he portrays loyalty, perseverance in hard times as well as great courage and self-sacrifice. Nailer suffers much as he pursues his freedom, but in so doing demonstrates the qualities of a true, brave soldier. As Robert Frost once said, “Freedom lies in being bold. ” As A soldier fights with courage for the freedom of others, likewise, Nailer demonstrates courage as he fights for the freedom of others as well as himself. Therefore Nailer would make a superb soldier, fighting for freedom.

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