can choose to either live fast and furious or slow and methodical. “You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise, and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old” (Doyle 148). Many people in the world today are living their lives too fast and like the hummingbird, they’re burning out before they even really get started. But, there is also an entirely different population who decides that it’s best to take things slower. They are more methodical and focused around the true meaning of human emotion and submersing themselves in the love around them. This is the slow-down that ultimately claims even the wildest hummingbird. When Doyle brings in the blue whale in the fourth paragraph he intends for we as readers to compare them to the hummingbird. The blue whale lives life in the slow lane, develops complex relationships and builds a family with an unbreakable bond, whereas the hummingbird lives fast and ultimately completely opposite. “There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest mammal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs” (Doyle 148). This is how we are shown that love can be found no matter the odds. When people finally lose the selfish way they thought, they eventually (hopefully) find what truly matters, the love for and of others. “The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale” (Doyle 148). Doyle takes the physicality of the enormous blue whale and uses it as a metaphorical comparison to a heart that grows and matures from its previous “free-spirit” to a more family oriented, emotionally driven sense. Consider when Doyle mentions the size of the
Stamper 5 blue whales heart and the overall size of the whale itself for example. He’s speaking about the growing up and maturation of humans. With this growth and maturity comes a sort of seclusion, a cutting away from the norm you once lived. “The animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles” (Doyle 148). We find our one with who we’ll travel to the ends of time with and it’ll be known to everyone the price we’ll willingly pay for it and the heartbreak we’ll endure when it all eventually (naturally) comes to an end. To go from the race-car hearts of the humming birds, with their crazy metabolisms and low life expectancies, to the blue whales that have hearts the size of a room and can live for many, many years. I think that Doyle uses these metaphors to describe the trials of the human heart. No matter how you look at it though, the heart will always be the Achilles heel of any living creature.
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- Fall '13
- Humpback whale, Brian Doyle, Blue Whale, Hummingbird