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Reef Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Reef.
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Early in the novel, Triton chooses to keep the fact of Joseph's attack a secret. He believes that by not putting it into words, what happened will go away. It is a coping mechanism that works for him for a while, but he eventually learns that what has happened will not go away. When the Sri Lankan cashier puts into words his feelings about the war at home, that is the strandline-the breach-that makes Triton's memories of the past come flooding back ten years after Mister Salgado's return to the island, and twenty years since his own exile.

Mister Salgado, at the end, stressed that it was important "to conserve, to protect, and to care for the past." It was a learned behavior, he said. Triton's detailed recollection of his past, then, is his way of keeping and protecting the experiences of his coming of...

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This section contains 453 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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