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by Terry Pratchett

Coming of Age Quotes in Nation

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

How does water become stars? How does a dead man becoming a living dolphin? But those were a child's questions, weren't they? The kind you shouldn't ask? The kind that were silly or wrong. (3.122)

Mau's people seem to think that questioning their faith is a child's folly. If adults don't ask questions, does that mean that becoming an adult involves blindly following everyone else? The difference between man and sheep suddenly doesn't seem very clear.

Quote #5

Mau hurried up to the Women's Place and entered more boldly than he had done before. (5.1)

To boldly go where no man has gone before: Mau's like the Captain Kirk of the island. Who's manlier than Shatner? Anyway, coming of age seems to involve—for Mau—being more comfortable with the opposite sex… without quite dispelling the mystique. (The mystery is half the fun!)

Quote #6

"Not just [a boy]. Not even. Not only. Who knows?" (5.117)

Mau responds to Pilu calling Mau "just a boy" by insisting that he's something more. Mau finds himself in a lot of awkward in-between places in the book, between boyhood and manhood, life and death, nature and civilization. But it's not just Mau. In many ways, we're always between these things; there is no beginning and no end, just life. Depressing? Or inspiring?

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