The person is born without any experience or knowledge. They gain it in the process of growing up and development. The surroundings shape the person's views and ideals. People are influenced the specific place and society they grew up in. In his speech Pat Conroy tells the readers about how his life has been affected by the specific place he lived in.
In the speech Pat describes the place of his childhood. It was an island in South Carolina, completely isolated from the land and has its unique charm. This place shapes and identifies him. He feels that the Frip Island and he grew up together. He describes the nature as "wind shaped and salt burned". He said that there were a lot of hurricanes on that island and nature was sort of a defense against them.
It was Pat's final years of high school; he was around fifteen, sixteen years old.
The first time he went to that island was on his fishing expedition. He liked the place a lot but the property was very expensive. Later on, when the bridge was built the Frip Island started to get inhabited. They also built a golf course and pat liked to play there. Pat says that the island connects with peaceful memories and he starts to feel young again.
The island is also associates with his mother Peggy Conroy. She loved nature and the sea. According to him she would go and collect the sea shells and would decorate lamps with them. She taught him that "...nature was only one other way of approaching God." His mother died in 1984 and they would always remember and associate her with nature and sea. A lot of memories are linked to the Frip Island.
In his speech Pat Conroy uses a lot of imagery and metaphors to describe the nature, which allows reader to paint the clear picture of the landscape in his/her mind. Pat describes that because of the island he is able to write that well. He says that because of the interactions with nature he is actually able fantasize that he is a part of nature which makes him understand it. Pat connected his life to the island, which fully distinguishes him and has spiritually united with him.
It's amazing how the place can influence a person. I know it from my own experience. I was born in Russia, when I moved to the United States my views and interests changed completely. I became a more secular and liberal person. I started liking different types of music dress differently. I got used to NYC very fast and now I wouldn't go back for anything.