Thursday, March 17, 2011

Household Secrets

Compared with all the novels we have read thus far, Kisses in the Nederends is brutally frank about secrets. Hau’ofa, through his application of situational comedy, lays bare some of the most intimate truths involved in everyone’s lives at home; unless of course, your family doesn’t have embracing secrets. Essentially, Hau’ofa pierces through the veil of cultural differences to show the affects implicit in the disparity between how we act while in our home and how we act outside presenting our home. He divides, at least in the beginning of the novel, the interior home with the exterior face or presentation of that home. Hau’ofa, in dividing these spaces, demonstrates how a tightly knit community communicates and how the individual family unit functions within that network of communication: Hua’ofa accomplishes this in his presentation of Makarita and Oilie’s special predicament. This dynamic between interior home and external face is presented clearly by these two in the scene when Makarita has to walk through her village to get to the village healer’s abode for help after the medicine didn’t solve her husband’s problem. In walking through the town, Makarita is exposed to the constant prying eyes of her fellow villages; eager to passively extract whatever information they possibly can concerning her husband’s special illness. The entire village knows something is brewing in their household (as tightly knit communities communicate about and are aware of unique disturbances) and that Oilie is ill; however, Hau’ofa presents the village as a gossip mill and therefore their knowledge is only superficial. So while Makarita is walking down the street, with the interior experience of her household situation, it comes as no surprise that she wishes to be as vague and as secretive as possible to hide a secret in her external face. Her behavior is noticeable different while questioned by the villagers than while she is at home.. Makarita almost reaches a point of breaking face; letting herself be swept by the frustrating emotion and gets caught expressing her frustration, having to keep secrets in an external face, by the town priest. To a degree, we all have our family secrets. Hua’ofa, in presenting the community face as a means to hide our embarrassing household secrets, is revealing how detrimental to our mental health these home secrets can become. Hua’ofa demonstrates how secrets can become our prisons; forcing us to build walls where we would be better served building bridges.

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