Study Guide

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Wisdom and Knowledge

By Neil Gaiman

Wisdom and Knowledge

The Ocean at the End of the Lane has a pretty neat take on what wisdom and knowledge can confer. A lot of our story deals with what life would be like if we knew more than we do about life, the universe, and all of it's great mysteries. The Hempstocks function on a plane outside of the one we exist in, and the way that they see our world impacts not only their abilities, but also how they handle life and death situations. And then to think—all of this knowledge is contained within Lettie's little fishpond…

Questions About Wisdom and Knowledge

  1. Lettie's ocean contains a vast amount of wisdom that would eventually destroy the boy, so why can fish live in it?
  2. Why don't the Hempstocks share their ocean of knowledge?
  3. If Lettie's ocean is literally an "ocean of knowledge," is it also a metaphor? If so, what does it represent?
  4. How do all of his experiences with the Hempstock's brand of wisdom change the boy?

Chew on This

The Hempstock's powers, for lack of a better term, derive not from the supernatural but from the accumulation of knowledge.

Wisdom and knowledge are, by nature, benevolent.