Both Peck and Li’l Bit make frequent references to “the line.” Borrowed from the world of driving—as in, the lines marking out the road—the line represents limits. In driving, lines on the road allow for people to move around safely; they are an agreed-upon code that everybody follows for mutual benefit. With regard to the uncle-niece relationship, the line should represent the limits of their interactions. That is, there’s nothing wrong with Peck acting paternally or affectionately to Li’l Bit, but he crosses a moral line when he approaches her sexually. Li’l Bit, fully aware of Peck’s attraction to her (which to an extent is reciprocated), tries to draw the lines over which Peck must not travel. For example, when Li’l Bit is thirteen years old, Peck photographs her in his basement. She insists on the “line” that there be no frontal nudity—though for most of the audience, the moral line here is in fact crossed by the photography session itself. Though Peck is always insisting that he won’t cross “the line,” he is frequently trying to redefine what the line is in an attempt to coerce consent out of Li’l Bit for behaviors that he knows, deep down, transgress society’s lines of acceptability.
The Line Quotes in How I Learned to Drive
PECK. Don’t change the subject. I was talking about how good I am. (Beat.) Are you ever gonna let me show you how good I am?
LI’L BIT. Don’t go over the line now.
PECK. I won’t. I’m not gonna do anything you don’t want me
LI’L BIT. That’s right.
PECK. And I’ve been good all week.
LI’L BIT. You have?
PECK. Yes. All week. Not a single drink.
LI’L BIT. Good boy.
PECK. Do I get a reward? For not drinking?
LI’L BIT. A small one. It’s getting late.