Ship Breaking

posted Mar 26, 2017, 3:29 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Mar 26, 2017, 3:30 AM ]
This week the Middle School Program began its next and final unit on Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker. This book is set in a future Earth where climate change has changed everything. The world has used all of the oil, Major coastal cities lie underwater, and the economies of the world have been shaken. The main character, Nailer, is a ship breaker. Today, ship breakers are the very poor who live in impoverished nations like Bangladesh. It's a dirty and dangerous job that pays next to nothing. Nailer doesn't live in Bangladesh though. He is American. The once rich coasts of America are now wastelands of the wasteful past. It is here on the ship breaking yards of the Gulf of Mexico where Nailer finds his destiny washed ashore after a "city killer" hurricane. 

Throughout this unit, we will discuss issues related to loyalty, poverty, climate change, and heroes. We will focus especially on Nailer's character. Is he a traditional hero? Is he an anti-hero? But first, we must learn about where Nailer came from before we explore too deeply who he is. To do this, we must understand Nailer's environment and the life of a ship breaker. 

Our first assignment for this unit is to watch some videos about ship breaking in Bangladesh. The follow-up quiz will test students' understanding of the content. The next assignment is more analytical where students will compare and contrast Nailer's setting with that of the ship breaking yards of Bangladesh. All of these are posted below.


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