The sea is all powerful

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When Foster is talking in chapter 18 about all the different implications that drowning or getting wet can mean, one immediately came to mind. I think that for many people the sea is seen as all powerful. Man can not tame it. Sure he can pretend to. We build boats and submarines and send scuba divers in. But the truth is that whenever the sea wants it can take us. It can kill us in a thousand different ways. It's so powerful that within hours after your death there won't even be any evidence of you at all.

For this reason, I think that many writers relate to the sea as a godlike creature. Nothing has quite the ability to judge us as the sea. I'm instantly reminded of two books, Hemingway's The old Man and the Sea and Chopin's The Awakening.

In Hemingway's novel a fisherman goes out to see and tries to raise many fish so that he can make money and feed himself. After a grueling struggle against storms and, indeed the sea itself, he manages to reel in a fabulous catch. Just when the reader thinks that the sea has been bested another storm comes and sweeps away his catch back into the sea. Just like our Lord, the sea giveth and the sea taketh away.

In Chopin's a woman is tired and bored of her life as a wife and begins a scandalous run of love affairs. At the end when she has ruined her marriage, neglected and scarred her children and possibly damaged their futures or at least their good name, she walks out into the sea. Sure, she could hang herself or put a gun to her head. But nothing has the ability to judge her like the sea. The ocean is the only thing truly powerful enough to pas judgment upon this woman.


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