An interesting aspect from “Kisses in the Nederends” by Hau’ofa was his critique that people shouldn’t rely on pretenses and superficiality. A note which I took in class reads: “Neglect of what we deem obscene is actually obscene.” One of the goals which Hau’ofa was trying to convey in his humorous novel was that if people can look at the worst part of a person (their arse hole symbolically in the novel) and be able to get by without prejudice, or to accept the person nonetheless, then that is true love. Through Oilei and other characters through Hau’ofa’s novel that take prejudices against people and are willing to accept a way of thinking just because that is what most people believe. We see in the beginning of the novel when Oilei and Rita are very worried about what their neighbors will think about them.
We can relate these prejudices in the narration of “Kisses in the Nederends” with the points of view in some of the short stories found in Salman Rushdie’s “East, West.” Some of the characters in these stories are single-minded because their way of life has attributed them one way of thinking; but their outlook on certain situations is shown not to be the universal outlook.
In the story “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies,” Miss Rehana has left her native homeland to live with a man who she considers a stranger, but her parents have arranged it. Muhammad Ali is basically a con-artist who tricks people in paying him lots of money for simple advice. However, Ali falls for Miss Rehana and wants her to success so he gives her free advice. When she doesn’t take it and gets denied from England, he is spiteful and regretful. However, Ali assumed that Miss Rehana wanted to get into England, but it was almost the opposite. She had been comfortable in her homeland, with a steady job and friends she knew. In this way, we as readers are able to see how the narration of the story had shaped our thoughts to be pigeonholed in a way.
In the story “The Free Radio,” the narrator is a well-liked and well-standing man. He observes a good looking young man named Ramani, whom the narrator believes has a lot of promise. He is greatly disappointed with the young man when he learns that he falls in love with a thief’s wife that is much older than him and already has five children. The readers along with the narrator and confounded because it seems that Ramani is throwing away his future, but we soon learn, after Ramani realizes that he is never getting a free radio, that the young boy has not thrown away anything. He married the women because he loved her. He had the operation because he didn’t want kids. And he finally was able to move to Bombay and be a successful actor. Like the narrator, we saw our own vision of how Ramani’s life was supposed to work out, however we never considered his own happiness and ideas. Ramani, at the end, is able to prove to everyone that, although he was definitely naive at times, he was right.
The third story, “The Prophet’s Hair” was a little more intense and complicated, especially because we see a different part of the story from different vantage points, but there is a similar moral to the story. We see that Sin, the main thief, listens to all the stories of how this hair in a silver casing had caused so many problems and still, because he is a “thief” and is pre-dispossessed to want expensive things, agrees to steal the hair. As readers we wonder why he would want a thing that will inevitably cause him harm, but Sin doesn’t see it. The moral of the story is that people shouldn’t just do or think things because that it what they are conditioned to do; sometimes it will come full circle to hurt them, like it did when Sin was killed.