From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Not Waving but Drowning

Not Waving but Drowning

  

by Stevie Smith

Not Waving but Drowning Isolation Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

Nobody heard him, the dead man, (1)

It's been said that everybody dies alone, and this line hammers the fact home. Not only is he alone in death, but he's apparently cursed with the ability to keep speaking, even though no one can hear him. That's gotta be torture.

Quote #2

I was much further out than you thought (3)

If he's swimming, then he's too far from shore or the other swimmers. We have to wonder why he's so far out. Was he being reckless? Did he overestimate his swimming ability or mistake the water's depth? Maybe a kiddie pool would have been more his speed.

Quote #3

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (9)

The phrase "out in the cold" can mean "excluded." So being out where the water is too cold seems like a metaphor for being cut off from the warmth of home and companions. The dead man felt he was always excluded from these basic comforts.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement