Thursday, March 17, 2011

Only Human

I dare say that Epeli Hau’ofa’s, "Kisses in the Nederends" is one of the most bizarre novels I have read in the classroom. The first chapter opens with a pretty extensive description of a fart. This book is not for those easily disgusted… everything is a bit vulgar, crude, blunt… but yet, alarmingly real. It goes without saying, everyone has encountered at one time or another farting or snoring. These very human behaviors are as common as breathing. These bodily functions that we are embarrassed and appalled of. It reduces us to our most basic human form and animalistic characteristics. At first, it was unclear to me where this novel took place. As I read further, I began to see the culture and customs begin to shape the homeland of Tipota. But specific location is perhaps not as important. Although Oilei’s ailment is fairly humorous, it’s somewhat universal. The reader can feel the embarrassment as Makarita walks through the town. Oilei on all fours, rolls around on the ground like a dog in a state of such pain. Oilei’s internal pain causes external embarrassment… and what could be more embarrassing than an unbearable ass pain? This is a man of status, he has apparently been appointed to a seat in the Senate. An important man who is abused and berated by his intrepid wife. Although Makarita is described to be her husbands figurative “pain in the ass,” she is also depicted as loving and compassionate as we see her care for her husband.

What I have gathered so far is the importance of the internal home. While the external place of being can be just as important, the physical homeland can be unwelcoming, harsh... whether the person is displaced or just disgruntled. The interior home should be a place of safety and comfort. We all deal with pain and suffering; it's easier to share our grievances with those we trust and love. Having a loving environment to return to each day provides ease and sanity, we are allowed to feel comfortable, allowed to "let go" and relax. When you feel truly at home, you can do all these socially unacceptable things and not be judged or ridiculed.

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