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In “The Lifeguard,” Morris suggests that one’s true age is a reflection of their knowledge and their own life. The narrator says, “I loved my body that summer. I loved its firmness and its bronzed skin. But mostly I loved the way it was admired.” (427) By all accounts, he is physically mature, as most boys are at eighteen years old. His strength and physical maturity cannot help him in a moment of chaos because he “had done everything [he] had been trained to do, and nothing could bring Becky Spencer, her mouth gaping in a silent, breathless hole, back to life.” (430) His biceps, youth, and training could not save Becky because the narrator needs experience. Mrs. Lovenheim protects him from losing a child, the narrator’s greatest fear. Yet the narrator does not seek more wisdom from Mrs. Lovenheim; he wants her comfort the way a child wants comfort from their mother. Similar to a parent, she comforts him for a moment, but “release[s] [him] back into the world,” into the real world so he can go to college and grow old. The narrator tells his story with the knowledge he has gained from these moments, which could have happened in an instant or taken decades to cultivate, but despite this new knowledge he tells the story with a lack of self-awareness and perspective. It is almost as if the author is saying that one cannot truly change.

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