Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 733
It is the night of Nutbeem’s going away party. He has invited more than fifty people and is holding the party in his small trailer. Quoyle helps Nutbeem set up the food and drinks. He also takes a tour of Nutbeem’s place. He is considering living there after Nutbeem moves out, but he changes his mind upon seeing how small it is.
When they go into the bathroom, Quoyle notices a big, yellow barrel in the shower stall and asks about it. Nutbeem explains it is the closest thing to a tub he could fit inside the trailer. He takes baths in it. Later, when they are looking for a container big enough to hold thirty bags’ worth of potato chips, Nutbeem suggests they use the yellow barrel coated with soap scum. So Quoyle opens all the bags and pours the chips in.
Nutbeem has invited only men to the party. After they have each consumed many beers, they begin to talk about how to stop Nutbeem from leaving. Someone suggests they destroy his boat. In a drunken fit, men pick up hammers and chain saws and head down to the dock, where they take the boat apart. The boat sinks.
The next day, Quoyle has the worst hangover of his life. Beety tells him that Dennis and a group of other men who had been at the party are trying to salvage Nutbeem’s boat. They were hoping to bring in some heavy equipment to raise it. Quoyle has no memory of the destruction of Nutbeem’s boat or much else about the party, except that he decided the trailer was no place for him and his daughters to live. Beety also tells Quoyle that there is a house for rent. The Burkes own it, and they have moved to Florida. They wanted to sell the house but no one wanted to buy it. Beety says it is a big, clean house—the perfect place for Quoyle.
Quoyle goes out to the old house on the cove to retrieve some clothes. While he is there, he concludes that there is something about the house he does not like. It feels like it wants to suffocate him. He also thinks the house, with its need to be tied to ground, does not belong there. He questions if his father’s family should have moved it off Gaze Island. When Quoyle goes inside, he finds knotted strings at the door of each room. He knows they were put there by the old man he and Agnis have glimpsed. Sometimes Quoyle had caught the man snooping around the yard in the middle of the night. The man is the cousin Agnis does not want to claim. The knotted strings, Quoyle has learned, are supposed to represent a type of ancient curse. The...
(The entire section contains 733 words.)
Unlock This Study Guide Now
Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Shipping News study guide. You'll get access to all of the The Shipping News content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.
- Chapter Summaries
- Critical Essays