Monday, January 24, 2011

The Whale Rider- The need for change

Through out the novel, The Whale Rider, the necessity for change and evolution in the tribe becomes evident to Koro. In the beginning Koro searches for a new leader, but is not looking in the right places. He looks at the boys in his town with qualities that he has and yet is blind to the powers of Kahu. Kahu is the change and evolution that the tribe needs. Throughout the second part of the novel, Koro realizes and accepts a woman, his granddaughter Kahu as the change the tribe needs.

One way change occurs is through Nanny Flowers and her determination in giving women more rights. She feels very strongly about the power of women and finds it necessary to constantly remind Koro. “ ‘Girls can do anything these days. Haven’t you heard you’re not allowed to discriminate against women anymore?’ (79).” This example shows the changes in the women’s rights in this culture. In a way this increase in power for women foreshadows to the reader that Kahu may have a chance in representing the tribe. Pressing Koro constantly about women eventually impacts his opinions towards women when he finally accepts Kahu for who she is.

Additionally, Nanny Flower influences Koro to see that change is good and women are of good use. After him refusing help from the women saying “ ‘You know as well as I do that this work is sacred’ (113).” He then eats his words when he needs the women’s help to put the whale back in the ocean “ ‘…go tell your Nanny Flowers it is time for the women to act the men.” (121)” This example shows Koro is more open to the idea that women can be of actually help and do good work besides making dinner and tending to the garden. Slowly, Koro’s views towards women are beginning to change.

The final instance that truly shows that Koro has accepted the need for change in his tribe is when he accepts Kahu as The Whale Rider, Paikea’s planted spear. “ ‘You are the best great-grandchild in the whole wide world…boy or girl, doesn’t matter to me’ (149)” Koro accepts the shift in power towards a women. He has finally recognized the change that tribe needs – Koro, a female leader.

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