Sailing Alone Around the World Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Sailing Alone Around the World.
This section contains 478 words
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Sailing Alone Around the World Summary & Study Guide Description

Sailing Alone Around the World Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum.

Sailing Alone Around the World by Captain Joshua Slocum is a work of non-fiction. The book details Slocum's solo trip around the world, which logged more than 46,000 miles and took three years. The reader should note that the trip was not undertaken all at once. Slocum often docked for weeks or months at a time to refit the boat, visit people and landmarks, and to enjoy the scenery and the customs of faraway lands.

Overall, the book is in chronological order, although Slocum has a tendency to refer to events out of sequence, which can be confusing. For example, Slocum tells stories about being in Australia and then leaving the country to head elsewhere. In the next chapter, Slocum returns the story to Australia and then jumps ahead. There are similar instances involving the sailor's time in South Africa and Brazil.

Slocum starts out by talking about his homeland, Nova Scotia, and its maritime history. Joshua Slocum was born in 1844 in Mount Hanley, Nova Scotia. Slocum describes Nova Scotia as a maritime province of Canada, rife with hardy spruce from which many fine vessels have been carved. According to Slocum, "The people of this coast, hardy, robust, and strong, are disposed of to compete in the world's commerce, and it is nothing against the master mariner if the birthplace mentioned on his certificate be Nova Scotia" (p. 1).

Slocum ran away several times as a boy and eventually ended up working as a cabin boy on a boat. Eventually, Slocum would shun his father's profession of leather working and became part owner of Northern Light, which the author claimed was the finest American vessel afloat.

Slocum fell into good fortune when a friend and whaling captain offered the author the chance to own and rebuild an oyster boat named the Spray. Slocum would spend a great deal of time working on the boat before setting off on a three year journey around the world, the first ever solo voyage.

The journey began in April 1895 and took about three years to complete, logging more than 46,000 miles. Slocum writes about many places that he saw and visited along the way, with enough detail that the reader could easily follow the route on a map, even with the series of changes in trade and maritime routes.

Slocum showed a great deal of determination and courage in undertaking the trip, particularly since he was alone for the majority of it. There were times when friends and other sailors were aboard, but rarely for long.

The story is fascinating from a nautical point of view but also from a social point of view, as Slocum took the opportunity to interact with many different cultures and their customs.

Even at the end of the long journey, it is clear that Slocum still loved sailing as much as the day he left.

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