Literary Techniques

Junger organizes his narrative around both spatial and chronological principles. The spatial development takes the reader out of Gloucester onto the open sea and then the narrative attention ranges widely across the North Atlantic, encompassing the swordfishing fleet, the sailing yacht Sartori, various freighters caught up in the storm, Sable Island and important coastal points, and even Caribbean weather systems which will eventually impact the North Atlantic. The chronology follows the last days of the Andrea Gail, but also goes back in time to the days of dory fishing off Georges Bank and literary and historical references from the nineteenth century (for example, to Moby Dick). Junger also courageously interrupts both spatial and chronological development with learned technical disquisitions on how waves form, how people drown, how boats turn over, and so on. These mixed developmental patterns and disquisitions are held together by a clear, forceful prose that nevertheless conveys great human feeling for the doomed fishermen whose story it records.

Junger also occupies a position somewhere in between pure factual reporting (as mentioned, he does not consider himself a journalist) and a novelist writing a dramatized version of a historical event. The author steadfastly resists the temptation of fictionalizing the last hours of Billy Tyne, Bobby Shatford, and the others, instead relying on parallel situations, both historical and...

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