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The imagery of the ocean is perfect for this passage because that is a place of calm and peace, and perhaps Andy is subtly mentioning that her mother was like that for her. Andy never explicitly says that she misses her mother, but they way she describes it makes it like she does truly miss her. The passage above shows how vulnerable Andy is because she is in an environment that is foreign to her and this causes her to struggle over her decision to change her gender.
There are many adjectives used in this passage to describe what the experience of the ocean was like for Andy. She was not really witnessing the ocean because it says only that it sounded like the ocean, but she does reminisce about a time when she traveled to the ocean with her family. The fear in Andys description of the sea could be construed as an allusion to her fear of listening to her inner voice and choosing to remain a woman. For her, the ocean is something to be afraid of because she may just enjoy herself even though she is feeling scared. Andys mother even encourages her to go into the water but she is too afraid to do so. Words like musky and rank give a description of what they ocean means to Andy, which is something to dislike.
This passage is crucial as part of the story because Andy is going through a time of reflection. The wind was blowing strongly and to Andy "it sounded like the ocean, and once Andy thought she could smell salt air" (343). She did make a decision to become a man, and even change her name, but the experiences that she has gone through are perhaps making her reconsider her decision. Andy reminisces about her past life when she has the following thought: "She and her parents had gone last summer to stay for a week at a motel on the New Jersey shore" (343). For so long Andy has attempted to hide her feminine side, yet she describes her mothers feminine side in much detail when she says "that her mothers swimsuit top had come off, so that her breasts
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