Excerpt: A Thematic Review of Ship Breaker by Maddie Collart

The dystopian novel ¨Shipbreaker¨ by Paolo Bacigalupi takes place in the futuristic society of the United States. Nailer is a teenager who scavenges ships on Bright Sands Beach. He has always known a rough life. He has the bare minimum of supplies and safety in his life, and most importantly, he has an abusive father. Throughout this book, the author puts emphasis on the theme that every person’s perception of ‘family’ can vary, and can affect how people treat each other. This concept is shown through the different perceptions of the diverse characters in the story and how they change. These characters have lived in different conditions than each other and have grown up with different threats and people around them. All of these issues factor into their perception of ‘family’ and how this important theme is woven throughout the story.

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Excerpt: Thematic Essay — Ship Breaker by SL. GG

Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi, is set in a dystopian version of the Americas. The main character, a young boy named Nailer, and his friend Pima are on a scavenge crew. They scour shipwrecks to find anything worth selling. After a hurricane, Nailer and Pima find a ship that has been washed ashore. As no one else has spotted it, they decide to scavenge it and take the loot for themselves. They find many expensive things, a dead crew, and a girl. The girl, Nita, turns out to be alive, and Nailer and Pima rescue her from her ship. Nita proves to be unbelievably wealthy. This difference in social class provides an insight to one of the many themes of this story. Ship Breaker shows that money, or lack thereof, changes the way that people think, perceive the world, and act on these perceptions. This is important to acknowledge because, when interacting with others, we must remember that their backgrounds and the way they view money and class changes the way they behave towards us and others.