| Quote #1
If you didn't know the way, you weren't a man. (1.68)
This has both literal and figurative meanings. Literally: the way from the Boys' Island to the main island. Figuratively: finding the proverbial path to manhood. Becoming an adult is about finding direction. And everyone knows that men don't ask for directions!
| Quote #2
It would be better to drown than [to fail]. Everyone would know you'd failed, and you'd probably never get a wife, and if you did get a wife, she'd be a woman none of the real men wanted, with bad teeth and smelly breath. (1.72)
Mau is worried about failing his culture's coming-of-age ritual, and the punishment for failing is seriously dire. Many things are the same across cultures. Like in this case: men want hot wives.
| Quote #3
MEN HELP OTHER MEN (1.75)
This is a carved onto the tree on the Boys' Island. You can't become a man by yourself, you have to have help. And a real man helps others find themselves. Isn't that nice? We sometimes think that men are supposed to be all loners—but Mau's culture sees men as being part of a community.