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Quotes

Quote #4

"So, what should I do?"

Archie waved his hand. "Oh, well, that's the easy part. Stay away from her: your problem's kaput."

I sneered. "Great advice. You know it's not that easy."

He did know, of course, but he wanted me to say it" (19. 16-19).

Great teachers have a way of letting us come to our own conclusions, even when they've known them all along. Of course Archie is acting more like a counselor than a teacher, here. He knows what's right, but he won't tell Leo, because it's more important that Leo come to the same conclusion all on his own. That way, it's more meaningful.

Quote #5

Like so many of Archie's words, they seemed not to enter through my ears but to settle on my skin, there to burrow like tiny eggs awaiting the rain of my maturity, when they would hatch and I at last would understand (19.39).

In this really cool simile, Leo compares the way you typically receive knowledge (through you ears) to how you get wisdom from Archie (through little eggs that enter your skin and hatch at a later date). Has someone ever told you something that made absolutely no sense to you till much later?

Quote #6

"He says it all boils down to this—if I'm translating correctly: Whose affection do you value more, hers or the others'?

The Señor says everything will follow from that."

I wasn't sure I understood the Señor any more than I understood Archie half the time, but I said nothing, and I went home (19.52).

This is a great example of how good a teacher Archie really is. He has Leo actually thinking (at least momentarily) that the cactus and Archie are two separate people. Hilarious. Of course the Señor is hard to understand; he's a cactus, for Pete's sake. The thing can't actually talk. But in the comedy of the moment it's a reminder that the right question can be so very important in learning.

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