Study Guide

Finding Nemo Perseverance

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NEMO: Can you help me?

GILL: No. You got yourself in there, you can get yourself out.

DEB: Ah, Gill...

GILL: I just want to see him do it, okay? Keep calm. Alternate wriggling your fins and your tail.

NEMO: I can't. I have a bad fin.

GILL: Never stopped me. Just think about what you have to do.

Poor little Nemo. His dad's always protected him, so he never learned to get out of sticky situations using his own moxie. Here, Nemo finds out that he can do things if he just tries. And that lucky fin? It's not holding him back either.

DORY: Hey, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do?

MARLIN: I don't wanna know what you gotta do when life gets you down.

DORY: Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.

MARLIN: Dory, no singing.

DORY: Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! I love to swim! When you want to swim—

MARLIN: See, I'm going to get stuck now with that song now it's in my head!

DORY: Sorry.

This is probably reason #9,478 that we love Dory—she doesn't give up. Her motto is just keep swimming which makes a whole lot of sense when you're a fish who can't remember where she's going and doesn't know where she's been. The only way to get a clue is to keep on pressing on.

GILL: You see that filter?

NEMO: Yeah?

GILL: You're the only one who can get in and out of that thing. What we need you to do is take a pebble inside and jam the gears. You do that and this tank's gonna get filthier and filthier by the minute. Pretty soon, the dentist'll have to clean the tank himself. And when he does, he'll take us out of the tank, put us in the individual baggies, then we roll ourselves down the counter, out of the window, off the awning, into the bushes, across the street and into the harbor! It's foolproof!

Gill is one determined fish. He hasn't let a few escape attempts gone wrong stop him from coming up with new ideas. This plan isn't quite foolproof, but we like its chances.

GILL: My first escape, landed on dental tools. I was aiming for the toilet.

NEMO: Toilet?

GILL: All drains lead to the ocean, kid.

NEMO: Wow. How many times have you tried to get out?

GILL: Ah, I've lost count. Fish aren't meant to be in a box, kid. It does things to you.

Gill's even suffered because of his persistence. He's got that beat up fin. But, we get the feeling this fish is never gonna stop until he's back in the ocean. That's some dedication.

GILL: All right, gang, we have less than forty-eight hours before Darla gets here. This tank will get plenty dirty in that time, but we have to help it along any way we can. Jacques?


GILL: No cleaning.

JACQUES: I shall resist.

GILL: Everybody else, be as gross as possible. Think dirty thoughts. We're gonna make this tank so filthy the dentist will have to clean it.

Okay, this is pretty gross, but the Tank Gang is determined to make this plan work. They're gonna live in their own filth, resist the urge to clean, and get out of this land-based prison. It's a tank break!

DORY: Oh. Oh, oh, big fella. Big fe—whale. Okay. Maybe he only speaks whale. Mooooo-weeeeeee-neeeeeeed...

MARLIN: Uh, Dory, what're you doing?

DORY: Toooooo-fiiiiiiiind...

MARLIN: What're you doing?

DORY: His-sooooooooooon...

MARLIN: Are you sure you speak whale?

One thing you can say for Dory—she's got guts. Marlin isn't so convinced about her whale-speak abilities, but that doesn't stop Dory from trying dialect after dialect. She's going to get through to this whale somehow.

MARLIN: No. I promised him I'd never let anything happen to him.

DORY: Huh. That's a funny thing to promise.


DORY: Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

Perseverance is good, but knowing when to give up on an idea is okay, too. Here, Marlin finally realizes that he can't stop Nemo from doing things. No matter what he does or how hard he tries, the kid has got to experience life—both the good and the bad.

MARLIN: Dory, wake up, wake up. Come on.

DORY: Duck!

MARLIN: That's not a duck. It's a—pelican! Whoa!

DORY: Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

MARLIN: No! I didn't come this far to be breakfast!

Oh, now who's learned a little grit and determination? Marlin and Dory are about to be swallowed whole by a pelican when Marlin just straight up refuses to die. He's like Rambo or something. This fish is tough.

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