On November 15th, there was a dinner in Loyola’s own Boulder Cafeteria titled “Where are your Manners? A Conversation about how to Win Friends and Influence People,” which related to the first book we read in class Whale Rider, by Witi Ihimaera. Both the dinner and the novel had the themes of tradition and modernity, and drew connections to an ever-changing world. This is important because it shows a relationship between the literature we are reading and the real world we live in, and the changes that will have to happen in upcoming years.
Father Tim Brown and Dr. Ron Tanner, both of Loyola University, led the dinner lecture. The lecture covered the main idea of how people today, especially college students, are more tuned into technology and less tuned into the people that surround them. The main examples of this is how we were sheltered as children by our parents, and how the atmosphere in workplaces will change because of this, and how we will be talking to people, and we will be texting while we talk to them. The first example given was about how much more sheltered we are then prior generations. They stated that our parents nurtured us so much that we are not able to take criticism. Because of this, the workplace must change, as new employees will not be able to handle the expectations that come from having a job. The second example was about how we text while talking to people. The increase of technology literally keeps us connected with the world all the time. Because of this connection, it has limited us in regards to communication with other people in person. It has taken away many of our social skills and abilities. It is a huge change from tradition, where people have always talked to each other in person, not through Facebook or texting. Although these new and cool ways of communicating may be wicked interesting, they also could be dangerous, changing the world as we know it. Ultimately, the lecture was to raise awareness about the changing ways of college students these days and the coming transition from our current world to a brand new one.
The issue of tradition and modernity is also a major theme of Whale Rider. The tribe, which is passed down through in a patriarchal way, is now going to be passed down into the hands of a girl, Kahu. The chief of the tribe Koro does not believe that she is the whale rider because she is a girl. Because of this doubt, he goes around trying to find the boy that is, having the boys of the tribe perform tasks, which only Kahu can complete. Even with this, Koro still does not believe that a woman can be the whale rider, showing his faith in tradition. Ultimately, Kahu is able to save the whales and the tribe, showing her supreme powers, and proving that she is the whale rider. This also brings her tribe into a modern world, where all are equal. Ultimately, the novel provides us with the knowledge of when we must turn from tradition to a modern world.
The dinner lecture and novel Whale Rider have the themes of modernity and tradition in common. Although they have the same themes, the ideas in both are different. While the lecture warned against becoming too modern, the novel told us to beware of tradition, as it may lead you down the wrong path. In conclusion, both of these ideas be somewhat true, but there is no denying that both tradition and modernity are a big part of the world and of our lives.