The Last Straw

Last updated: June 14, 2017 at 2:51 am

camel photoIn the classic Sci-Fi Novel, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas”, the author, Jules Verne, describes a series of events that leads to a climax. An unknown “creature” was destroying ships in the ocean. People were getting worried, angry and concerned.

However, when the creature attacked one of England’s most popular ocean vessels, the people could take it no longer, and vowed to rid the seas of this monster at all costs. “This was the last straw.”

“The last straw” is also referred to as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. Have you ever heard the expression “the last straw” or “the straw that broke the camel’s back” before? In what context have you heard it used? Have you ever wondered what this really means?

A camel is a very superior beast of burden. It is well-built and strong, and able to carry great amounts of weight. Back in olden days, merchants of the Middle East would take advantage of the camel’s superior strength in loading their goods on the camel’s back and transporting it to the market.

But these people were intelligent enough to know that, no matter how strong a camel is, its weight-carrying capacity has a cap. You can only load so much on the camel. Some people would load the camel up to such an extent that a joke came about that “the camel couldn’t take one more straw on the back”.

Yes, a camel is strong, but we are often warned in life never to “overdo” things. Everything has its limit.

Imagine that a bad ruler is governing a country. The people gets more and more aroused and stage protests. One day, someone dies in the protest. The people can take it no longer and a war erupts between rebel forces and the government. The killing of the protester is metaphorically “the straw that broke the camel’s back” or “the last straw”.

Have you ever experienced a series of events in which there was “the last straw” or “the straw that broke the camel’s back”? What was it?

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