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The Third and Final Continent

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The third and final continent

In the story "The Third and Final Continent" the narrator lives in India, then moves to London, then finally to America. The title of this story tells us that the narrator has been to three different continents and chooses to stay in the third.

As soon as the narrator arrives he decides to stay at the YMCA. After saving some money he decides to move to somewhere a little more like home. He responds to an advertisement in the paper and ends up living with an elderly woman, Mrs. Croft. She is a tiny, extremely old, rigid woman and old fashioned in the sense of her clothing and thinking:

"She wore a long black skirt that spread like a stiff tent to the floor, and a starched white shirt edged with ruffles at the throat and cuffs"

"It is improper for a lady and gentleman who are not married to one another to hold a private conversation without a chaperone!"

She is very independent and lives alone in her house even though she is already 103 years old; she does not allow Helen, he daughter, to cook for her.

At first he is very respectful and well-mannered to the elderly women. The narrator does not feel that he owes the old woman anything. But after he discovers that the elderly woman is one hundred and three years old he then changes. He becomes more caring and even amazed that this old woman has lived for one hundred and three years.

Now that I knew how very old she was, I worried that something would happen to her in the middle of the night, or when I was out during the day. As vigorous as her voice was, and imperious as she seemed, I knew that even a scratch or a cough could kill a person that old

The narrator just like the elderly woman is not used to the times in America but also America in general. So this may help the narrator to feel more comfortable in his new setting.

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