In “Harbor Me” what does Amari mean by the phrase, “No wonder you so quiet, Red. You all kinds of still water”?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "Harbor Me," Amari says to Esteban, "No wonder you so quiet, Red. You all kinds of still water." The phrase means that Esteban is very calm and doesn't show his emotions. Amari is trying to say that Esteban is like still water, deep and hard to read.
Detailed answer:

In the novel "Harbor Me" by Jacqueline Woodson, the character Amari uses the phrase "No wonder you so quiet, Red. You all kinds of still water" to describe the personality of another character named Esteban. This quote refers to the way that Esteban seems quiet and reserved on the surface, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface that others cannot see. Amari is acknowledging that there is more to Esteban than meets the eye and that he is a complex individual.

Throughout the book, Esteban is shown to be a thoughtful and introspective character who has experienced trauma in his life. He struggles to open up and express his emotions, which leads others to see him as quiet and reserved. However, as the students in the story begin to share their personal stories with each other, Esteban opens up and reveals his own struggles, showing that there is indeed a lot of depth and complexity beneath his calm exterior.

Amari's use of the phrase "still water" is significant because it references the idea that calm waters can be deceiving and that there may be powerful currents flowing beneath the surface. This metaphor highlights the idea that people should not be judged solely on what is visible on the surface, but rather on what lies beneath. The novel "Harbor Me" emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding, and the phrase "No wonder you so quiet, Red. You all kinds of still water" serves as a reminder that people should not be quick to judge others based solely on their outward appearances.

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