Myth, Culture And Family In Niki Caro's Whale Rider

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Register to read the introduction… Koro, the current chief becomes consumed with grief and anger when he learns that the male half of his twin grandchildren died at birth, leaving him with no successor. Pai who is abandoned by her father after the death of her mother and twin brother, stays behind in the care of her grandparents. As she grows older she becomes interested in learning the ways of becoming chief. But her grandfather constantly holds her down simply because she is a female. His old-fashioned attitude makes him only look for males.

Pai’s relationship with her grandfather is threatened by her strength and determination to become accustomed to and carry on traditions that have been important within the Maori culture for generations. As Pai grows up, her belief that she can become the leader grows stronger. She loves her grandfather and desperately tries to prove herself but Koro cannot adapt and her ambition constantly threatens their relationship. Throughout the film Pai proves her ability to lead; she demonstrates the necessity to both hold on to the important values within a society while adapting to new challenges and
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After this, he twists the rope around the engine and pulls, snapping it. While Koro leaves to get another, Paikea, ties a knot and repairs the rope. She then proceeds to start the engine, which infuriates him when he returns. Judith Butler in Gender Trouble states, “Gender is always an act or performance, it is a performance that is repeated in mundane bodily acts and gestures…” (Butler, 2004, 140). Although Pai behaves and acts like a lady, her sense of purpose is to bring her community out of darkness. From this particular scene, the symbolism implied is that Koro rejects that Pai, as a girl, could re-link her people with their ancestors and thereby revive

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