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The Captain is unsure about his first cruise as Captain of the ship. He is uncertain of his maturity, his ability, and his capabilities. He lacks confidence and fears failure. The most obvious manifestation of his insecurity is his decision to stand the anchor watch himself, a task not usually assumed by a chief mate, to say nothing of a captain. It is of this feeling of inadequacy, this split between what he knew he should become and what he feared he was, that the captain must rid himself. Having progressed beyond this initial immature state, he would have attained the higher ground of self-knowledge, symbolized by the "larger and loftier mass, the grove surrounding the great Paknam pagoda," standing on higher ground than that on which the "two insignificant clumps of trees stand," one on each side of the only fault in the "impeccable joint" of land and sea.