Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Traveling Within

In his book, Tales of the Tikongs, Epeli Hau’ofa writes of a small island, Tiko, in the Pacific Ocean, and the politics which ensue as the island faces imperialistic development. Hau’ofa weaves together the stories of several natives in order to show the impact of change to the native culture. The tales satirizes the characters in a way that makes their struggles relatable to the readers own individual struggles. Hau’ofa particularly sets out spiritual struggles for each of his characters in order to create a space for the reader to look within their self.

Through his use of biblical imagery, Hau’ofa takes his readers on a journey of developing their inner-self. He presents his characters in a way that their stories allow the reader to travel through their thoughts and the way they perceive their own inner-self. This inner-self being that of morals which tie the reader to their individual notions of a higher purpose. In the book, this deeper spirituality is predominantly seen through the character of Toa who learns to not be, “greedy for earthly goods,” as well as to devote, “all his time to developing for himself vast treasures in Heaven,” (Hau’ofa 26). Toa learns that this connection to a higher power is what life should be lived for rather than that of earthly commodities. It is through the humor of his tale that the reader can make connections to their own life and the way earthly commodities can work to fill and voids left by a lack of connection to the inner human spirit. Through the use of biblical references, the author sets up a moral yardstick as which to measure his characters by as well as for the reader to place themselves on the created scales of biblical and character comparison. It is through his characters’ moral compasses, that Hau’ofa creates a place that can evoke travel of the reader through their inner-self and thus create a connection with the human spirit.

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