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Course Hero. "The Shipping News Study Guide." August 31, 2017. Accessed December 9, 2018.


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The Shipping News | Quotes


For Quoyle was a failure at loneliness, yearned to be gregarious, to know his company was a pleasure to others.

Narrator, Chapter 1

Quoyle has yet to see his ability to connect with people as a strength. He believes everything about himself, even his good qualities, is a failure.


What don't happen is also news, Quoyle.

Partridge, Chapter 1

Everything is a reaction to something, and all reactions affect life. Even if he doesn't act, Quoyle is still making a decision that impacts his life.


Everything that counts is for love, Quoyle. It's the engine of life.

Partridge, Chapter 1

This fatherly advice from Partridge to Quoyle is a major theme of the novel. Quoyle transforms his life through his capacity to love despite growing up unloved himself.


A spinning coin, still balanced on its rim, may fall in either direction.

Narrator, Chapter 1

Anything can happen. Even though Quoyle has had a rough start to life, things could still go in either a positive or negative direction for him, depending on his own choices and reactions to whatever unfolds in his life.


The part of Quoyle that was wonderful was, unfortunately, attached to the rest of him.

Narrator, Chapter 2

Everyone has good and bad parts rolled up together. In this case, Quoyle's wife, Petal, allows the bad to outweigh her ability to appreciate the good in him. It's always a choice.


You've got a chance to start out all over again. A new place, new people, new sights. A clean slate. See, you can be anything you want with a fresh start.

Agnis Hamm, Chapter 3

To soothe Quoyle after his parents commit suicide and his wife dies in a car accident, his aunt encourages him to take advantage of the endings in his life by forging new beginnings.


You know it takes a year, a full turn of the calendar, to get over losing somebody.

Agnis Hamm, Chapter 4

Aunt Agnis tries to console Quoyle over the deaths of his parents and his wife. Agnis is also trying to persuade Quoyle to move to Newfoundland with her.


We face up to awful things because we can't go around them, or forget them.

Agnis Hamm, Chapter 8

Quoyle's job at The Gammy Bird is partly to write about, and take photographs of, local car wrecks. Quoyle does not think he can handle that job because it reminds him painfully of Petal's death in a car crash. Here, Aunt Agnis tells Quoyle the new job will help him confront and get over his painful memories of Petal.


And what we fear we often rage against.

Diddy Shovel, Chapter 9

The harbormaster explains to Quoyle that Jack Buggit has a morbid fear of the sea, even though he spends so much time on it, and continues to do so after his son drowns in a fishing-boat accident. In contrast, Quoyle does everything he can to avoid the water and not face his own fear of it.


We're all strange inside. We learn how to disguise our differences as we grow up.

Agnis Hamm, Chapter 15

Aunt Agnis and Quoyle discuss Bunny's strange behavior. Quoyle feels it is due somehow to his shortcomings as a parent. He also gets the feeling maybe the aunt isn't talking about Bunny.


Petal wasn't any good. And I think maybe that is why I loved her.

Quoyle, Chapter 37

Quoyle realizes that, though he loved—and may still love—Petal, she was bad for him. She had continually abused him verbally, insulting and belittling him. This quote shows Quoyle's realization he loved Petal because she abused him. When he was with Petal, Quoyle was filled with self-hatred and shame, and Petal fulfilled the role of someone who confirmed Quoyle's negative view of himself. He was with her because he felt he deserved the punishment she continually meted out to him.


It's like you feel to yourself that's all you deserve. And the worse it gets the more it seems true, that you got it coming to you or it wouldn't be that way.

Wavey Prowse, Chapter 37

Wavey relates to Quoyle's realization his love with Petal was abusive just as her relationship with Herold was dysfunctional in that same way.


Was love then like a bag of assorted sweets passed around from which one might choose more than once?

Narrator, Chapter 38

Quoyle examines his feelings toward Wavey. He realizes he is finally over Petal, and it is OK for him to love someone else.


I've always been good at it. Getting over things.

Agnis Hamm, Chapter 38

Aunt Agnis promises Quoyle she will get over her disappointment at losing the family house on Quoyle's Point. She is relating to him how important it is to cope with losses.


And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.

Narrator, Chapter 39

Quoyle and Wavey are to be married, or are already married. Their love is quiet and deep. Quoyle finally understands he can feel love with a woman—with Wavey—not based on reinforcing his own self-hatred and misery. Quoyle is transformed and accepts Wavey's love and the beginnings of love for himself.

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