Can someone explain the saying "like two ships in the night?"I don't really understand why this short story is called "Like Two Ships"  and someone told me it has something to do with the saying...

Can someone explain the saying "like two ships in the night?"

I don't really understand why this short story is called "Like Two Ships"  and someone told me it has something to do with the saying "like two ships in the night."

Asked on by popcorn13

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The saying "like two ships in the night" refers to the fact that two ships can be traveling the vast ocean, meet one (by chance), and never meet again.

The quote can be based purely upon fate. Two ships in such a large body of water have a slim chance of actually meeting. Sometimes, they may pass by each other but have no clue given the darkness around them.

Other times, like stated earlier, the ships will pass each other never to see each other again. The meeting becomes either a memory or a questions if the two even met at all.

What this says about people, which is normally how the quote is used, is that people can pass by someone without even recognizing the fact that they came in contact with them at a point in their lives.

That being said, one could look at this in a very different way: that everyone we pass we have an impact upon whether we, or they, know it. Think about the wake and ripples a ship will put off. The ripples will push upon the sides of a ship as it passes, sometimes close and sometimes so far away that the ripples are not even noticed. Regardless, the ripples leave something upon the other.

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