September 12, 2012
Barriers can blind our perspectives and cloud our vision. As seen in The Whale Rider, Witi Ihimaera revolves this blinded vision around Kahu and the gender barrier that is holding back relationships in the family. This gender barrier is creating divergences in this dynamic. This gender barrier theme is also seen in other works of literature and in poetry. Yosef Kommunyakaa also expresses a gender barrier in his work titled Slam, Dunk, & Hook. This gender barrier is also revolved around the female gender. This work of literature attempts to break down this barrier as the women play basketball and feel “beautiful and dangerous.” A barrier parallel can be seen between Frost and Ihimaera as well. This barrier is shown through a neighbor’s fence in the work Mending Wall. These hindrances are seen throughout the stated works of literature. Another common aspect seen between The Whale Rider and Common Ground is nationalism for ones culture. This parallel is shown through the cultural pride that each of these works expresses. One could compare “the digital divide” in The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice with the collision of the traditional past with the present time frame in The Whale Rider. I believe that the Jesuit higher education resembles Nanny Flowers in a way because they both “embrace new ways of learning.”
The barrier that is created in The Mending Wall is symbolized in the division of property due to this fence. The speaker does not see any use for the wall and believes there is no reason as to why it is still standing. The neighbor on the other hand believes there is a need for the wall. Just as the neighbor repeats, “good fences make good neighbors,” Koro refuses to let down the gender barrier that he holds true for Kahu. These two characters are exemplifying an outdated era where a barrier is not needed.
In the work of literature Slam, Dunk, & Hook, the women feel strong and independent as they “dribble, drive to the inside, feint, & glide like a sparrow hawk.” This can correlate to what Kahu feels like in The Whale Rider as she attempts to be the leader of the Maori community or when she communicates to the whales and other sea creatures. Another parallel between the themes that were presented in class and another work of literature is seen in the work Common Ground. This poem characterizes people seeing the beauty in your culture just as all the characters in The Whale Rider did in their own way.
In conclusion, a common theme shown throughout all the aspects of literature discussed is barriers and cultural pride. There are all parallel aspects of pride in an acitivty or a barrier creating in a divergence in relationships in Common Ground, Mending Wall, Slam, Dunk, & Hook, and Peter-Hans Kolvenbach The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education.