That quote could be Marlin's life motto. After the death of his wife, Marlin sees danger around every corner in the Great Barrier Reef. He's determined to protect his son from these terrors by insulating him from anything even slightly panic-inducing.
But eventually Marlin learns that you can't let your fears control your life. Yes, the world is a scary place sometimes…but if you don't take some risks, you'll never get to experience the good stuff, either.
Questions About Fear
Are Marlin's fears really irrational? Or was he kind of right about the ocean being a super dangerous place?
Compare and contrast Marlin and Dory. Why is one of them scared of everything, while the other has no fear at all? Who do you think has the healthier attitude?
Do you think Marlin ever told Nemo what happened to Coral and his brothers and sisters? Or do you think he would have tried to protect him from that, too?
Chew on This
Fear isn't always a bad thing. It's actually our brain's way of letting us know to be a little more careful. Marlin is probably right to be terrified of sharks, jellyfish, and an approaching whale—all those things could mean death.
In the end, Marlin learns that it's okay to be afraid sometimes, but that you can't let your fears (or your fears for your kid) totally paralyze you.