The North Water Symbols & Objects

Ian McGuire
This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The North Water.
This section contains 766 words
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Rifle

The rifles used by the crewmen of the Volunteer symbolize power -- specifically, the power of the Europeans to overcome the dangers of their hazardous environment in the north waters. Later, the rifle becomes symbolic of the waning power of the whalers as they desperately try to bargain with the Eskimos for seals. The crew get only a fraction of the seals they had hoped to consume to survive the winter. This could be construed as a sign of the loss of power by the Europeans in the face of wild nature and the aboriginals who know they can survive without guns.

Medical Supplies/Laudanum

The medicine chest of the ship's surgeon, Sumner, symbolizes the importance of science and rational thought in surviving a long sea journey in the north. When the medicine chest is fully supplied, it includes laudanum (morphine) which Sumner needs to sleep...

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This section contains 766 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The North Water Study Guide
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