Study Guide

Ship Breaker Chapter 20

By Paolo Bacigalupi

Chapter 20

  • Nailer stands on the deck of Dauntless and thinks about what's happened the last few days. He and the crew are getting ready to rescue Nita. They think they will encounter the Ray, and they hope that the Pole Star, a dangerous ship, isn't in the area.
  • The ship is mostly automatic, but Captain Candless still trains the crew as if it weren't.
  • Nailer wonders if he's going to go back to the beach or stay on the ship when the adventure is over.
  • Reynolds, another crewmember, and Nailer talk about how fast the ship can go; Nailer tells her that he wants to stay with the ship after they rescue Nita.
  • The captain overhears and says working on clippers is a coveted job, but Nailer says he's up for it.
  • Then the captain gives Nailer a gun and tells him to practice with it. He also gives Nailer instructions about fighting with a knife, and Nailer remembers fighting Blue Eyes.
  • Nailer needles the captain enough that Candless tells Reynolds to take Nailer to the hold with the hydraulic systems.
  • Knot, one of the half-men on board, puts Nailer to work greasing the gears of the hydrofoils; it's dangerous work and reminds Nailer of light crew.
  • Knot realizes that Nailer can't read and says that he's useless as a worker without literacy, so Nailer asks Knot to teach him to read, saying he can pick it up quickly.

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