I have always felt that my idea of home was connected to my family. While I still currently do believe that, I realize that I cannot escape the fact that the place I call home plays just as big a part in my life. I have always lived in Massachusetts, my whole life, so it seems impossible for me that I would ever call another place home.
In Wendt’s novel Sons for the Return Home, the distinction between New Zealand and Samoa is evident in every part of the text. Considering this, it is hard as a reader not to be constantly looking for those differences. Whilst looking I kept trying to see the what the connection between these people and their homelands were, because clearly they were a very important aspect in their lives. I came to the conclusion that home is what you know.
I chose to look at the boy’s mother character because everyone seemed to hate her so much. As awful and controlling as the boy’s mother is in Wendt’s novel I found at points that I sympathized with her on how she had trouble accepting her new homeland. I say this because I believe that she looked at Samoa as her birthplace, so naturally she felt that everything she knows and resonates with life came from that land. I feel that when one is forced to move from their homeland they fear and resent the new land they are forced to live on.
I remember when my family talked about moving, I was devastated. I thought my whole world was going to end and that I would never recover. I convinced myself that I would hate wherever we would move to. Being older now and having experienced living away from home, I realize that this notion is a bit ridiculous. Yet even living here in Baltimore for three years, I still have this gut feeling that I will never call anywhere but Massachusetts my home. Like the boy’s mother, I too feel that my home is the greatest place in the world. I would like to pretend that I don’t put Boston on a pedestal, but I would be lying. For me there is no greater sense of home and connection than that which I feel when I walk the streets of Copley, or drive past Fenway Park or even just walk down my little suburban street.
Unlike the boy’s mother I know that I could adapt to a new lifestyle, if I got married and had to move somewhere else. I would be more accepting because I see that this new place to me would become a homeland to my children. And I would come to recognize this new place a second home, but it would never replace Boston. I think this is what the boy’s mother failed to recognize, that her actions and words about and towards New Zealand, essential not only alienated her, but it alienated her entire family. This is destructive because you have to learn to adapt in life, because if you don’t you’ll never feel any sort of satisfaction, instead you would always feel empty and angry. We see this with the boy falls in love with the girl. Their love connects the boy to New Zealand, and as a result this decreases his alienation from the land.