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Ship of Fools Summary
Katherine Anne Porter

Everything you need to understand or teach Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter.

  • Ship of Fools Summary & Study Guide
  • 4 Literature Criticism
  • ...and more
  • 30 Ship of Fools Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
  • 20 Essay Questions
  • Pre-Made Tests and Quizzes
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Ship of Fools Summary


The idea for Ship of Fools (Little, Brown and Company, 1962) originated in a voyage that Katherine Anne Porter took from Mexico to Europe in 1931. Some of the passengers she encountered on the ship became the models for the characters in Ship of Fools. Porter began work on the novel in 1941 and it took her twenty years to complete.

The title is taken from a moral allegory published in Latin in the fifteenth century. Porter wrote that the title of her novel symbolizes "the ship of this world on its voyage to eternity." The wide cast of characters includes German, Swiss, Spanish, Cuban, Mexican, Swedish, and American firstclass travelers. In steerage, there are 876 Spanish workers who are being deported from the sugar fields of Cuba.

Ship of Fools is notable for its pessimistic view of the human condition. In particular, the Germans are portrayed in a harshly negative light. They...

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Study Pack

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Ship of Fools Study Guide

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Ship of Fools Lesson Plans contain 105 pages of teaching material, including:

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