Ship of Fools Essay

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Aubrey holds a Ph.D. in English and has published many articles on twentieth-century literature. In this essay, he discusses Porter's novel in terms of the self-deceit of many of the characters.

Perhaps it is not too obvious to remark that Ship of Fools is aptly titled. The sum total of human wisdom assembled on the Vera is heavily outweighed by the accumulation of folly, ignorance, vice, and sheer evil. If this novel is a portrait of the human condition, as some critics take it to be, it gives little cause for comfort.

The human failings presented in the novel are varied and numerous: the hateful rantings of Herr Rieber, the contemptuous authoritarianism of the Captain, the alcoholism of Herr Baumgartner, and the cheating and thieving of the Spanish dancing troupe, to name only a few. One fault that afflicts many of the characters is self-deceit. Perhaps because...

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This section contains 1,780 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ship of Fools Study Guide
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