Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Cycle of Judgment

In the novel, Tales of the Tikongs, Epeli Hau’ofa presents a humorous tone when talking about serious issues. His tone allows him to reveal multiple perspectives to the controversial issue, without stating his own opinion. By poking fun of the situation, Hau’ofa forces his reader to analyze the circumstances from a new point of view by combining two exaggerations on the extremes. Humor also places uncertainty on the reader’s outlook, by raising new questions and allowing for observation.

One example in the novel is the tale of Sailosi Atiu. The story starts off where Sailosi “had so emulated his style of work, dress, speech, and deportment that his friends took to addressing him by the Englishman’s name” (49). As the tale progresses Sailosi receives a raise which allows him ‘freedom’. He then switches back to his native ways and demands a typist to wipe off her make-up because “it’s a fowl foreign custom” (51). The irony within the story is based around Sailosi’s past, which he seems to forget. Also the story demonstrates a double standard that many people don’t realize they are making. As Sailosi ‘defends’ his culture by eliminating those around him, he does not notice that he is embarking in the same path of judgment as Mr. Hobsworth- Smith. This need for acceptance only feeds the cycle of judgment.

The humor calls for a sense of realization and irony; because this cycle of judgment is an on-going battle throughout the novel (and even in today’s society).This cycle of judgment can also be seen in Wendt’s Black Rainbow. The reoccurring theme of judgment only stresses the role of perspectives on new cultures and acceptance. In Black Rainbow a person is either ‘judging or being judged’, but The Tales of the Tikongs demonstrates that it is possible to be both judged and judge others at the same time.

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