Monday, January 24, 2011

Whale Rider Part 2

In reading the second half of Witi Ihimaera’s novel The Whale Rider, I found one very interesting aspect of the story that is present throughout and even in the first half of the book. The author does an excellent job of using foreshadowing as part of the story. While reading through the novel and examining the text further, I found that Witi Ihimaera uses the end of most of his chapters to foreshadow what will happen further along in the book.

Chapter Fourteen of The Whale Rider starts with the story of the actual Whale Rider, Paikea. This chapter is narrated by an unknown source. The narrator explains to the reader the relationship between the whale rider and the ancient whale. The whale rider tells the great whale, “Friend, you and I must take the gifts of life to the new land, life-giving seeds to make it fruitful.” They eventually arrive in Whangara. The whale rider leaves the whale and after waiting for a while, the whale realizes that he and his companion may be separated. The rider has found a woman and has married her. They eventually go on one last ride together and the rider tells the whale “My destiny lies here. As for you, return to the Kingdom of Tangaroa and to your own kind.” The whale then leaves, heartbroken and longing for his companion.

The text of the story then changes to italics. The ancient whale is with his family in Antarctica. They reach a wall of ice, which prevents them from moving forward. The ancient whale longs for his companion to guide him past the ice. Suddenly he sees his companion and begins to swim, his family following him.

Chapter Sixteen starts with something happening in Whangara. As foreshadowed in Chapter Fourteen, something is happening. Rawiri states that “Whatever the case, the earlier stranding of whales was merely a prelude to the awesome event that followed, and event that had all the cataclysmic power and grandeur of a Second Coming.” As a storm approaches, Rawiri notices, “With it came the icy cold winds hurled from the Antarctic.” From this statement I knew that the whales were coming to Whangara all the way from Antarctica to find their Whale Rider.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I read your review of Witi Ihimaera’s ‘The Whale Rider’ and wondered whether you might be interested in asking Witi Ihimaera a question about this book? BBC World Book Club on the World Service is interviewing him soon and would love to hear from you. If interested, please email me at as soon as you can with a question about the book (anything - doesn't have to be particularly clever!), along with where you’re from/live. We can either arrange for you to talk to Witi Ihimaera himself, or have our presenter put your question to him for you. Then you will be able hear your question on BBC World Service Radio when it airs.
    Best wishes,
    BBC World Book Club