Robert Frost’s “The Mending Wall”, Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Slam, Dunk, & Hook”, Judith Ortiz Cofer’s “Common Ground”, and Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach’s “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” all show an overlapping theme. These authors/poets all emphasize an idea of unity that corresponds with that in Ihimaera’s Whale Rider. Unity between groups of people brings about peace and order.
Initially Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” may be lead readers to believe that he is presenting a story quite opposite of the concept of unity. However, if one looks further into understanding the reading, he or she may realize that the neighbors actually have a similar view on the importance of the wall separating the two yards. The narrator’s true appreciation for the wall is revealed through his position in choosing the day for the annual wall renovation and his continual reparation of the wall throughout the remainder of the year. Frost uses unity in this poem to show that it is not the wall itself that makes the two good neighbors but that they are sharing in a common, which results in their good relationship.
Cofer speaks about humans as a whole in her first stanza. She chooses not to speak in the first person but rather the second, making her point relevant to anyone who may read this; “Blood tells the story of your life in heartbeats as you live it…”. In the second stanza she switches to talking in terms of her own self. Even so she remains with an idea of unity between herself and various family members: her grandmother, father, and mother. Cofer’s purpose is to unite people and show their common ground as the title overtly demonstrates.
Komunyakaa also shows a unity of characters through his word choice in the poem “Slam, Dunk, & Hook”. He uses the word “we” to bring the players of the team together. Rather than speaking as himself as an individual player, he groups the whole team together. Players of a basketball team must all work together in order to come to a collective goal, winning and playing well. Komunyakaa displays this oneness of his players throughout the poem.
Lastly “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” written by Jesuit Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach continues to show this same theme of unity. “We give thanks for our Jesuit university awareness of the world in its entirety and in its ultimate depth...” Jesuits view the world as a whole and find great importance in doing so. Their ideals also include helping others who are in need, which leads to bringing people together as a unit. The Jesuit belief of wholeness is a key concept that Kolvenbach presents in his speech, because he sees its benefits to society.
These four people whether writers, poets, or spokespersons all see a mutual noteworthiness in the significance of unity. As Ihimaera shows in the novel Whale Rider, this unity is necessary for any good functioning of a group of people. Communities need a common purpose, goal, or view to bring them together in unity, which results in harmony.