This reading was over-all a redundant discussion that expanded on every normal persons connotations of shells. It discussed the simple ideas of shells as protection, isolation, identity, and disguise. A major theme throughout this reading was phenomenology, which according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is the study of “phenomena”:
“appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience”. This concept only further added to the somewhat mind-boggling and tedious discourse. There were very abstract ideas mixed with simple thoughts throughout the reading, such as the water phoenix. It imagines that if shells are ground, mixed with water, they will “resurrect” and reproduce. This element of imagination was found throughout the reading.
There were several interesting connections to human identity and development. The idea of interior vs. exterior is connected human identity. Everyone has an outer “shell”, nobody is completely transparent to or in the world. This is protection, but not a false identity. The author also discusses the soul which is encased by the body (pg 116). The idea that “life begins less by reaching upward, than by turning upon itself”, relates to human growth. Identity is grown and built upon itself, just like the chambers of a snail shell.