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Simona Barca

Shipping Out

In this article, Wallace uses the rustic and corpse-like imagery of the ship to compare and contrast it to the lively and fun-stuffed activities aboard the ship. He uses this in a way that compares the decay of the vessel itself to the oncoming decay of its passengers, but which is intentionally trying to be overlooked by the busyness and fun-stuffed activities on the ship. On board the ship, the crowd is concerned about “not titivation but titillation; not hard work but hard play…The hard-play option promises not a transcendence of death dread so much as just drowning it out.” He compares the participants’ decay to that of the ship but, while they are both in decay, the participants try to drown it out by occupying their time with activities that will take their mind off of it and will make them think that maybe, just maybe, their prime has not passed them. That are somehow not in the same position as the rusting and decaying ship they are standing on.

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