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Ship of Fools Essay

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In the following essay, Kirkpatrick explores the common link among the characters in Ship of Fools—the various social masks they wear to cover their base natures.

When you read Katherine Anne Porter's novel, you will find yourself already aboard her Ship of Fools, not overtly, not through the usual identification with one of the characters, but through a more subtle involvement with a familiar action.

Miss Porter's ship is a real, not purely symbolic, ship traveling from Vera Cruz to Bremerhaven during the early thirties and is peopled with passengers talking and traveling in that troubled time, but as the journey aboard the Vera, truth, continues the passengers tend to develop more towards caricature than characterization. And this is very close to Miss Porter's point. She has no clearly identifiable protagonist or antagonist. Her subject is too large to be shown through a central character; for...

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This section contains 2,125 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ship of Fools Study Guide
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Ship of Fools from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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