Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Makarita in Kisses in the Nederends

While writing about Oilei’s wife Makarita, Hau’ofa says, “In long-drawn-out battles of will, Marakita gave as much as she took and often came out ahead” (61). The relationship between the former boxer and prominent citizen and his wife is the most interesting in the novel thus far. Despite their constant bickering and her desertion of him early on--she soon returns to him at the urging of her mother--Makarita has a strong hold over her stubborn husband, a fact evident in a flashback when the reader sees how the two meet. Funnily enough, Oilei asks for her parents’ permission to marry their daughter even before he sees her face. He sees her boarding a bus and immediately says to himself, “She’s my wife” (55). The power Makarita has is still evident after twenty-two years of marriage, though this power practically goes unrecognized by her husband. He has never physically abused her even though they fight verbally. The idea of hitting Makarita never even occurs to Oilei, which is evidence that their relationship is a special one considering it is very common for Tipotan men to hurt their wives (53). Makarita’s boldness ironically enough actually keeps her husband from abusing her; she speaks her mind and insults him, yet his retaliations are only verbal. This unsteady relationship actually results in one of the stronger marriages in the culture because, in a certain sense, it is one of equals, each of whom dishes insults and receives them in turn. If anything, the only time the relationship is unequal is when Makarita emerges on top, getting in the last insult or laugh. In front of the healers and doctor Makarita claims her husband must have fornicated with their dog in the missionary position since he hadn’t done so with her in months, and she urges Losana to “[l]et the bugger suffer” (34). Makarita is one of the stronger female characters we have met thus far in the semester, and her hilarious relationship with Oilei perfectly complements the overall satirical nature of the novel.

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