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Quotes

Quote #1

The young man was what [Daphne's] grandmother would have called a savage, too. But he hadn't been a savage. [Daphne] had watched him bury all those people in the sea. (3.67)

Daphne's grandmother: an elegant portrait of cultural insensitivity. Watching Mau early on helps remove the preconceived notions Daphne had, thanks to her grandmother, about his people being bloodthirsty savages. Whoa, they have feelings too!

Quote #2

[Mau] grabbed the stick and tried, as best he could, to draw a second skirt on the top half of the stick woman in front of him. (4.152)

While communicating with stick figures, Mau doesn't see any need for the girl figure to be wearing a top, since island women let the girls roam free. By glaring at Mau to change his stick-person drawing in the sand, Daphne is unconsciously trying to "civilize" him—to turn him from an "other" into something that she sees as civilized.

Quote #3

"[Trousermen] are so proud, they cover themselves in the sun. They really are very stupid, too." (4.178)

Trousermen are the Other to the islanders, and priest Ataba shows that ignorance works both ways. Calling them "stupid" isn't a good start to getting to understand one another.

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