The Boatbuilder Themes & Motifs

Daniel Gumbiner
This Study Guide consists of approximately 46 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Boatbuilder.
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The Individual's Capability to Change

Throughout The Boatbuilder, the author uses Berg's struggle to move beyond the world of his addiction to explore the individual's capability to change and grow. After getting out of rehab and getting clean, Berg abandons his life in San Francisco for an allegedly simpler existence in Talinas. The narrator tells the reader that, "When the opportunity to house-sit for Mimi materialized, it seemed like a good first step toward reestablishing a sober life. If [Berg] moved up to Talinas, he could stay with Nell while also putting some tangible between himself and the world of his addiction" (16).

By removing himself from the physical space of his former life, habits, and addiction, Berg believes he will finally be able to create a new realm of existence. The author, however, challenges the flimsiness of this thought-process by demonstrating the hold Berg's addiction has over...

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This section contains 2,031 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Boatbuilder Study Guide
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