An elderly man is haunted by memories of his past after attending the burial of a boyhood friend near his old home in The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013) by Neil Gaiman. As a result, it was nominated for multiple honours, including the 2013 Locus Award for Best Novel and the 2013 Specsavers National Book Award for Book of the Year. Notably, he is best recognised for his work on Stardust, Coraline, and American Gods, for which he won both the Newbery and the Carnegie prizes.
An attempt by one individual is made to reconcile his upbringing and adulthood and his search for his identity throughout the story. With the passage from childhood to maturity, all of us must reassess our lives and the relationships in them, as well as decide what we want to remember about ourselves.In Sussex, England, an unnamed man is the narrator. In order to attend a relative’s funeral, he recently returned to the town where he was raised, and he is attempting to avoid interacting with individuals that he hasn’t seen in years.
We don’t find out who’s funeral it is or even what the man’s name was until the end. He represents all of us, even if his identity has been purposefully concealed. After driving about aimlessly for some time, the narrator returns to the house he grew up in. There are people waiting for him at his sister’s house, but he can’t face them.
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He refuses to answer any inquiries about his life since he is unhappy with it. He takes a glance around the dilapidated farmhouse before opening the door for himself. When he enters the farmhouse, he is greeted by an elderly woman. In spite of her familiarity with his appearance, she cannot recall his name. Lettie was his childhood best friend, so he reminisces about her at the pond behind the home. He’s puzzled by her disappearance.There are no oceans in Duck Pond, but there are memories of thinking they were there when they were younger.
The pond no longer carries the same attraction as it once did for him as an adolescent. However, he recalls his emotions when he first saw the pond and when he first met Lettie, both of which remain vivid in his mind. When he least expects it, memories of his boyhood flood back into his mind. He reminisces about his 7th birthday celebration. His family’s refusal to cancel the celebration was even more shocking.
He was wounded by the humiliation and vowed to leave his community one day. He wishes he could forget about this birthday party. On his first visit to the farmhouse, he recalls his first encounter with the elderly woman. His grandma, who used to give him milk, is named Lettie. She informed him about the dead fish she found when they went to the duck pond one day. She discovered a sixpence inside the fish when she opened it up..
Narrators left with the sixpence in their hands. The coin’s whereabouts were a mystery.Finally, the narrator’s father asked an opal miner to live with them. It is believed that the miner committed suicide while riding shotgun in the trunk of his father’s car. Strange things started happening in the village after the death of the miner. Despite the prevalence of money, it was a deadly commodity. Meanwhile, his father had moved on to another woman. This woman quietly but steadily replaced his mother until she was completely removed from his life.
My father loathed me, but my mother loved me. Lettie was asked to help him get rid of this unwanted woman.The narrator and Lettie conjured a swarm of birds to attack and kill the woman. They had forgotten all about her by the time she was gone. Since he returned to the farm a few days ago, he has simply forgotten about them. He remembers how afraid he was of these birds as a child, and how Lettie was the only one who could keep him safe.
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In his heart of hearts, he wishes he could see her one last time.He recalls the darkest part of his psyche—Lettie almost lost her life saving him from the birds. Her granny threw her into the pond among the ducks. The narrator didn’t get it, but Lettie’s grandma insisted that this was the only way to revive her daughter.
The narrator got up and went, saying he’d be back someday.He or she notices that Lettie has not returned to the farmhouse. He can no longer perceive her as an adolescent. Many times, he has visited the farmhouse throughout the years and has no memory of them. Lettie calls him back to make sure everything is okay before releasing him back into the wild. Lettie will return one day from the duck pond. Until Lettie comes back, they’ll always be together. The narrator must continue to forget about her till then.