The Boys in the Boat

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The Husky Clipper Symbol Analysis

The Husky Clipper Symbol Icon

The Husky Clipper, the shell that the “boys in the boat” row to Olympic victory in 1936, symbolizes the collaborative nature of the sport of rowing, and the overall story and victory of Joe Rantz’s Washington team. United in the pursuit of glory, the nine oarsmen—along with their coaches, as well as George Pocock, the boat’s designer—work together to win a gold medal.

The Husky Clipper Quotes in The Boys in the Boat

The The Boys in the Boat quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Husky Clipper. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Boys in the Boat published in 2014.
Prologue Quotes

I shook Joe's hand again and told him I would like to come back and talk to him some more, and that I’d like to write a book about his rowing days. Joe grasped my hand again and said he’d like that, but then his voice broke once more and he admonished me gently, "But not just about me. It has to be about the boat."

Related Characters: Joe Rantz (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Husky Clipper
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

In the Prologue to the Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown meets Joe Rantz, the closest thing to a protagonist in the book. Joe Rantz won an Olympic gold medal at the 1936 Berlin games, and lived a long, fruitful life—even so, his life’s story remains relatively obscure (especially when compared with that of Jesse Owens, the most famous American athlete at the ‘36 games). Brown wants to write a book about Joe’s life, but he doesn’t know how to begin to tell Joe’s story. Joe’s advice is simple: tell a story “about the boat.”

Joe isn’t speaking literally, of course—he doesn’t want the story to just be about the physical boat, the Husky Clipper, that the team rowed in in Berlin. Rather, his point is that any story about Joe’s rowing career must do justice to the feeling of solidarity, cooperation, and trust that arose between Joe and his peers as they approached the Berlin games. A good crew team works as a single, cohesive unit: the rowers must be highly adept at responding to one another’s bodily cues and staying “in swing” throughout the duration of the race. Thus, it’s no coincidence that many great crew teams remain friends for years—Joe and his peers were no exception.


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The Husky Clipper Symbol Timeline in The Boys in the Boat

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Husky Clipper appears in The Boys in the Boat. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...made Joe and his peers the varsity team—from now on, they’d be rowing in the Husky Clipper , a beautiful, sleek shell, even by Pocock’s high standards. Perhaps the boys in the... (full context)
Chapter 16
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
Propaganda Theme Icon
...highly disciplined. As the American team was preparing to practice, a photographer accidentally broke the Husky Clipper . Pocock worked to repair the shell while the team practiced in a less aerodynamic... (full context)
Chapter 17
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
...made a point of backing off and letting the boys rest. Pocock had rebuilt the Husky Clipper for the Washington team; however, he noted that the American boats being used for the... (full context)
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
East Versus West Theme Icon
Propaganda Theme Icon
The last “survivor” of the 1936 Olympic crew team is the Husky Clipper itself, the boat in which the Americans rowed. She’s kept at the University of Washington,... (full context)