Little Plastic Shipwreck

by

Cate Kennedy

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Declan Character Analysis

Declan is Roley’s boss who runs the dolphin show at Oceanworld. Unlike Roley, he expresses no sadness at Samson’s death, instead looking at the body and ordering Roley to “cut it up.” Declan behaves in an authoritarian way, and it is suggested that he has a tendency cut corners in terms of his responsibilities. He speaks to his employees without respect and harshly punishes any challenge to his authority: Roley recounts almost losing his job when he (deliberately) failed to reach for the fish on time in the dolphin show. Declan acts as the lead trainer and MC of the dolphin show, and puts on a completely different demeanour for this role. The story has excerpts from his script, full of rhetorical questions and recited in a “golly-gee” voice, which contrasts with the cold and callous man Roley knows him to be offstage. When Roley finally refuses to cut up Samson’s body, Declan fires him unceremoniously.

Declan Quotes in Little Plastic Shipwreck

The Little Plastic Shipwreck quotes below are all either spoken by Declan or refer to Declan. 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:
Humans, Animals, and Consciousness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribe Publications edition of Little Plastic Shipwreck published in 2012.
Little Plastic Shipwreck Quotes

Declan swore long and low when he came over and looked into the pool.

“Use the chains,” he said dismissively. “I reckon that thing weighs one hundred and fifty kilos. Haul it out and then drain the pool.”

“What will I do with him?” Roley couldn't help the personal pronoun, wasn't going to call Samson an “it.”

Related Characters: Roley (speaker), Declan (speaker), Samson
Page Number: 186-187
Explanation and Analysis:

Roley would crouch at the edge of the platform, following Declan's repertoire of gestures and punchlines, the rhetorical questions (“And do you know WHY they breathe that way, kids? I'll tell you why!”) until he reached the point in the script where he'd say, “Well, now, a dolphin can stay underwater for up to FIFTEEN MINUTES, but luckily for us here today Samson can't wait to meet you!” and Roley would reach casually into the bucket and Samson would arc up like clockwork and break the surface, his calm, loving eye on Roley alone.

Related Characters: Roley (speaker), Samson, Declan
Page Number: 189
Explanation and Analysis:

Roley looked at Samson's grey flank, noticing the nicks and cuts on it, the marks and old scars. He thought, sick with grief, about the way his wife's fingers sought out the small secret place under her hair where there was a tiny dent, still. He laid his hand on that flank, feeling its muscle, and he heard the moment waiting, and said into it, “You fucking do it.”

Related Characters: Roley (speaker), Samson, Liz, Declan
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Little Plastic Shipwreck LitChart as a printable PDF.
Little Plastic Shipwreck PDF

Declan Character Timeline in Little Plastic Shipwreck

The timeline below shows where the character Declan appears in Little Plastic Shipwreck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Little Plastic Shipwreck
Hierarchy, Authority, and Compassion Theme Icon
Declan arrives at the side of the pool where Roley is still standing beside the dead... (full context)
Hierarchy, Authority, and Compassion Theme Icon
Artifice vs. Reality Theme Icon
During the dolphin shows, Declan often goes on about “the special bond between humans and dolphins” and how “he’d trained... (full context)
Humans, Animals, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Hierarchy, Authority, and Compassion Theme Icon
Roley’s reverie is broken by Declan telling him to “get the chains” once again. Roley suggests that Declan needs to notify... (full context)
Humans, Animals, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Hierarchy, Authority, and Compassion Theme Icon
...She asks him if he remembers “that day in the school holidays.” Roley smiles, recalling Declan “hammering on about echolocation.” He’d pointed out on Samson’s head “a kind of big FOREHEAD... (full context)
Hierarchy, Authority, and Compassion Theme Icon
Artifice vs. Reality Theme Icon
When Declan reached the point in his speech that was Roley’s cue to reach for the fish... (full context)
Humans, Animals, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Hierarchy, Authority, and Compassion Theme Icon
...his hand on Samson’s “round, perfectly evolved head,” and strokes his blowhole. At that moment Declan walks in and commands him again to cut it up. Roley has his hand on... (full context)