Examine the Role of Rawiri in the Whale Rider Essay

Words: 1072
Pages: 5

Rawiri plays an important role in the novel which helped unfolding the events, ranging from minor to significant ones. He relates the events in the ‘Whale Rider’ as the role of the narrator, allowing the readers to form judgements and learn about things such as the Maori way of life and the characters through his eyes. He also give us his insights as he highlights themes and issues mentioned, like racial discrimination. Besides that, he is the one who sees the many signs of Kahu’s destiny as the leader of the tribe, piecing up a complete picture of her eventual rise as the leader. Additionally, he is her guardian, always protecting and looking out for her. With his carefree personality, he often provides comic relief especially in times of …show more content…
Rawiri regards himself as a fatherly figure to her and feels the need to look after her, protecting her from all the rain and storm. Also, when Kahu went out to sea in an attempt to save the whales, ‘instantly I (he) ran through the waves’, ‘plunged into the sea’ and ‘yelled to her, a despairing cry’. Even though he was ‘frightened by the heavy seas’, he bravely ploughs on for her as he does not want to lose Kahu and felt a strong responsibility to get her back to safety, even if he ‘would just have to go down this whale’s throat and pull Kahu right out’. This shows the extent of his guardianship of Kahu as he takes pains to protect this mentally strong yet fragile girl of eight.

Lastly, he also provides humour in different moments in the novel, especially in times of tension. For example, when Nanny felt indignant and unfair regarding the exclusion of women during school sessions, Rawiri managed to lighten the tense atmosphere through his comical phone conversation with Cheryl and bringing Kahu to the movies instead, with the girls ‘assessing whether I (he) had now become marrying material’. By inserting comic relief, there is a variation in the mood throughout the novel and thus the readers do not feel perpetually a sense of pressure and tension, and are able to feel relaxed. Also, the way Nanny wanted to look her best despite her failure as she wears a hat that ‘must have looked wonderful in the 1930s’ and ‘added a bit of this and a