Study Guide

Passion Water

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This is how we feel about water when it shows up in "Passion." Utterly terrified.

Why the sheer water terror? It might have something to do with Grace's perception of Neil:

What she had seen was final. As if she was at the edge of a flat dark body of water that stretched on and on. Cold, level water. Looking out at such dark, cold, level water, and knowing it was all there was. (290)

It all sounds pretty hopeless and mysterious. Also, remember the line about the "deep unfathomable caves of ocean bear"? There's a lot of water in "Passion," but rather than taking on a cleansing, purifying connotation, it seems to instead represent mystery and darkness. What choice does a person have when she looks into the void and feels as if it's all there is? Does she throw herself in? Does she acknowledge its existence and decide to live anyway? We like to think life can be lived and enjoyed without dwelling on the existence of the big endless water void (a.k.a. the lake) that lies just down the street—but what do you think has drawn Grace back to the fateful lake from a summer long since passed? 

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