Whenever he gets fired from work, he stays home, eats canned ravioli, and is an outright bum. He lets his first wife, Petal Bear walk all over him. Although in the beginning he allows others to walk all over him, he gradually grows past that throughout the book. For example, in the end, he keeps a steady job, and even becomes the top editor of the newspaper. He also remarries to become a happier individual. He becomes a totally different person.
At the start, Proulx shows us the stupidity of Quoyle. Among the things that Partridge, Quoyle's first friend, told Quoyle about his article Partridge said, "It's like reading cement. Too long. (21)" Partridge went on for about five more minutes about how Quoyle could improve his writing. However, after he moves to Newfoundland, a spectacular change occurs in his writing. He suddenly becomes smart. He fills it with active verbs. His stories become much more interesting. The reader notices his writing in the Gammy Bird improve substantially. The reader loves the new Quoyle at the end of the book.
In the beginning, because we have a downtrodden man as the protagonist, it would only make sense that he surrounds himself by people that trod him down more. After he quickly falls for the erotic provocations of Petal Bear, she told him when they were in bed together, "My God, that's the biggest one yet, (28)" showing the careful reader that she sleeps with many men, not .
just with Quoyle. All that he got out of the six years of their marriage was "sadness and misery." Petal forgot his birthday all six years except one time when she gave him an egg from the refrigerator. (299) Proulx also wrote, "It was not Quoyle's chin she hated." Quoyle's chin serves as a symbol for his pirate, thieving, double-timing ancestors. Perhaps Petal and his and his ancestors share a few common qualities since she symbolically does not hate them, although almost everyone else in the novel does.