the book their eyes were watching god.
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Did you mean the whole ships in the distance thing? I think it is saying that for some people dreams come true in the voyage of life but for many, dreams are illusive like a destination never to be found. As man searches for his dreams, time "mocks" him the longer it takes to find. Man's time on this earth is finite and dreams can disappear without man knowing it.
I think my second answer answers your specific question better!