Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Absolutely Certain

In class we were discussing the universal truth of the human hear which is inside every person. It is this truth of the heart which allows humans to connect to each other. Part of the connecting truth is made up of humor. Humor allows people from opposite ends of the world to meet. Humor provides a universal home, inviting every human being in and making the world and unknown situations seem less threatening. Everyone can connect to laughter and through laughter. More importantly, because humor can break down boundaries, humor uncovers meaning that would be disregarded had the individual not been able to connect to the situation. In Kisses in the Nederends, Epeli Hau ‘ofa uses humor to invite the reader into the story and to take part in the cultural practices which may appear foreign and incomprehensible, ultimately proving how humor can uncover hidden meaning.

During a moment which would traditionally be conveyed with great seriousness, Hau ‘ofa uses humor to shed light on the situation. While describing the wedding night of Oilei and Makarita Hau ‘ofa writes “Mere spread a brand-new starched white sheet on the pile of mats that was their bed and left beside it a bottle of fresh chicken blood she was absolutely certain they would need” (60). The addition of the phrase “absolutely certain” makes the sentence funny. The scene turns into a situation in which mother knows best. However, behind the laughter lies a mother-daughter relationship that may not be what it seems. Mere doesn’t just doubt her daughter’s virginity, Mere knows there is no way her daughter is still a virgin. Earlier in the chapter Mere tells Oilei, “we’re very close, you know. I’ve always thought we didn’t keep secret from each other” (56). If Mere’s assertion about her relationship with her daughter is correct, if Makarita does tell Mere everything, than Makarita will in fact need the chicken blood and the relationship between Mere and Makarita would be an ideal mother-daughter relationship. However, Hau ‘ofa writes “It was only later in the day that Mere checked the bottle of chicken blood and to her utter and delighted surprise discovered it full and unused” (61), showing that Mere and Makarita did have secrets and their relationship is not perfect.

The words Hau ‘ofa uses are funny when the reader glances over them, but it takes a second look to see that the humor provides great insight into the relationship between characters. The description invites the reader to laugh at the situation, breaking down any cultural boundaries. Laughter acts as a thread which connects every human and makes situations relatable to an outside audience. Through this laughter and humor the reader can then gain insight into a situation he or she may not have been able to relate to, had humor not created a place for the reader in the text.

No comments:

Post a Comment