Monday, September 13, 2010

The theme of making choices in consideration of traditional practices and modern options is present throughout the second half of Whale Rider. Regardless of her position in the Maori society, Kahu was the only person capable of saving the whale and so it was her duty to do so. Her action is important as it demonstrates that it is the job of any person in the community gifted enough to protect the group to perform the necessary task. Kahu’s choice to swim out to the whale may have violated the traditional thought that women should be kept away from sacred objects but at the same time was necessary in order for the community’s culture to survive. The Whale Rider continues in the second half of the book with its theme of pitting traditional thoughts against modern options through Kahu’s choice to swim out and save the whale.
Although Kahu was not expected to have been able to grasp the Maori culture she is in fact meant to lead the people in the future. Even Koro, the staunchest opponent to Kahu’s learning and development finally cedes this point in the face of her overwhelming talent. Kahu’s ability to speak to the whale and convince it to live demonstrates that she has been selected to lead. In this situation even the traditions of her culture regarding gender are unable to hold her back. Kahu’s ability leads to the idea that tradition can oppose itself. When this occurs the one most in line with modern options should be selected. When the choice appeared between having to choose a leader who can talk to whales and searching for a male boy who has not yet shown any talent, Kahu was chosen. Choosing the Whale Rider was an agreement between traditional perspective and modern options, proving that compromise can occur between the two catagories in order to provide the best for the best intrests of the people.

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