Marline and Dory

Finding Nemo changed the entire world’s view of the marine life completely. No matter where you are, someone yells “Nemo!” when they see a clown fish and no one questions why. The movie has aspects both grownups and kids could relate to. It is probably the most significant movie based on marine life after Little Mermaid. While finding Nemo was the focus of the movie and they finally did, the real star of this movie was Dory, played by Ellen DeGeneres. She gave us laughter, and a deeper level of emotions throughout the movie.

Finding Nemo is one of my all-time favorites and I had the chance to watch it yet again in Queensland, Australia. The famous Great Barrier Reef was one of the places the production staff came to study the interaction between marine life. Also the beloved character Nigel (pelican) is played by Queensland-born actor Geoffrey Rush, who also played the speech therapist in The King’s Speech.


Even if you can’t see, “Just keep swimming”


Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do, we swim, swim, swim.


Even Marline had to chase after the diver’s goggles into the deep ocean, he got scared of the darkness. Who knows what’s down there? How can he move without seeing a thing? But our Dory, she’s different. She casually swam down into the unknown singing her trademark song “Just keep swimming.”

Her positive and daring attitude is showed well throughout the movie especially when Marline and Dory were trapped in a whale’s mouth. Dory could supposedly speak whale, and the whale told them to ‘let go’. If they did let go, their future appeared to be as the whale’s lunch.

Dory "Just Keep Swimming"

Marlin: How do you know, how do you know something bad isn’t gonna happen?!

Dory: I don’t!


Marline listened to Dory and the whale at the end, and they finally landed in Sydney through the blow hole. The leap of faith brought them to Sydney, and to his son.

Worrying about the future and saying ‘what if’ is like holding scared onto whale’s tongue, No one knows what the future holds. That’s why a lot of people pay so much money to go to psychics and the Time Machine keeps appearing in Sci-Fi stories. The future is mysterious, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Only thing we can do is to take control of the present. The action we’re taking at this moment will change the future forever, good, bad, or in between. But if we don’t move, don’t take any action, nothing will change. The result can be bad. It can be just mundane, or it will bring out something you couldn’t even imagine.

Change is scary. Leaps of faith take a lot of courage. But sometimes we have to kick our own butt to move. Otherwise, we’ll never reunite with Nemo!


If you don’t let anything happen, nothing will ever happen


Marlin: No. I promised him I’d never let anything happen to him.

Dory: Huh. That’s a funny thing to promise.

Marlin: What?

Dory: Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then, nothing would ever happen to him.


This simple conversation reflects my relationship with my parents. I’m not a parent yet, but I’m sure this is what every mom and dad promises to their kids. It’s kind of their job to protect them from something bad happening. But after 18 years or so, they have to let go of the duty. Now the 18-year-old child, or young adult, has to take over.

When I was in the excruciating emotional battle with my family during my transition period into life as a traveler, I’ve learned a lot about them and their thought process. My father was same as Marline. He regretted that he never stopped me from going out and seeing the world. He’d rather prevent that from happening from the beginning. Instead of letting me choose between all the options, he wanted to eliminate the questions first. Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Marline was so focused on protecting Nemo, he prevented everything from happening, including good things. He was too focused on Nemo’s disability, he forgot there is a such thing as ability. As for what Dory said, if he never let anything happen to him, nothing would ever happen to him. If my dad had eliminated the questions as he wished, nothing good or bad would ever have happened to me.


Dory speaks whale

Don’t be shy, especially when speaking a foreign language


You know, I speak whale.


As a second language speaker, I admire Dory’s attitude. Koreans are naturally shy people. We are afraid of failure and mistakes. We don’t count silver or bronze medals in the Olympic, gold is only worth counting. The basic attitude of the people is you have to be best, otherwise it’s not worth it. At least that’s the attitude I was brought up with in school, at home.

That’s why travelers have a hard time in Korea (it’s getting better though). Koreans are quite good at English. They’ve been educated for many years in school, and they religiously spend extra hours studying for English tests. But if they meet anyone who speaks English, their ability runs out the door. Trust me, they understand much better than they speak.

Dory remembered she could speak whale and just blurted it out without hesitation. That’s admirable. Marline continuously said ’No you can’t!’ but it didn’t stop her. My relationship with English wasn’t always smooth, but at least I didn’t have any shy period. I was in New Zealand, surviving, I didn’t have any time to be shy. I’m not good at it right now, but it never stopped me from talking or writing. I’m Korean, but well, I’m a rebel as you know.

Practice makes it perfect, at least it’s true in learning a foreign language. Don’t be shy. The worst thing you can do is make mistakes. So what?


Express your emotions


No. No, you can’t… STOP. Please don’t go away. Please? No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave… if you leave… I just, I remember things better with you. I do, look. P. Sherman, forty-two… forty-two… I remember it, I do. It’s there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. And-and I look at you, and I… I’m home. Please… I don’t want that to go away. I don’t want to forget.


There’s no indication of romance between Marline and Dory, but it’s quite obvious that they are good together. At least Dory figured it out first. After being fooled by Nemo’s act of playing dead, Marline wanted go to back and forget everything that ever happened. But Dory stepped out and said what she thought. She was bold enough to admit that she felt at home with Marline. Gutsy move.

It’s important to express your feelings. To your friends, family, and significant other. Don’t forget that.


#Graphic credit: Disney Blog

7 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Dory”

  1. Finding Nemo is one of my favorite movies and Dory is such a character. I live in Cairns which is where Nemo from – The Great Barrier Reef. I have seen Nemo and Dory on the reef in past snorkel experiences!!

  2. Excellent post Juno, but I think mistakes are a great thing to make (the first time anyways) … if you don’t, how can one ever learn and grow? You have come so far, be proud of yourself and everything you have accomplished! 🙂

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