Traditions vs. Modern Values Essay

Pages: 5 (1459 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

Whale Rider -- Traditions vs. Modern Values

Whale Rider is a 2002 New Zealand independent film directed by Niki Caro and based on the novel of the same name. It is a story of many levels; family, actualization, magical realism, and coming of age in a world in which the traditional tribal culture of the Maori conflicts with the contemporary world of New Zealand. The movie was critically acclaimed all over the world, and won the young star, Keisha Castle-Hughes, the nomination for Best Actress (Puig).

The story is surrounded by mysticism. It focuses on Pai, an independent and fearless 12-year-old whose mother and twin brother died during childbirth. Koro, Pai's grandfather, had anticipated the next leader of his tribe would have been Pai's brother. Pai's father was more interested in art than the village, and once his wife died, left New Zealand for Germany. Pai knows her brother's death disappoints many. Through several plot issues, we come to know the village people through Pai's stern but kindly grandmother, Nanny Flowers; and Pai's uncle, who breaks village traditions to train Pai in the taiaha (fighting stick).

Download full Download Microsoft Word File
paper NOW!
Pai is part of the Maori culture, an indigenous people of New Zealand who compromise about 12% of the current population, clustering primarily near New Zealand's northern costal regions. Although the Maori share a number of cultural characteristics with other Oceanic cultures, the status of women is stricter and more hierarchically regulated than many other cultures. For instance, women may not watch a war canoe being built, not learn the taiaha (spear) technique or have anything to do with the schooling of future chiefs. A woman's role is to cook, raise children, to sing, and to keep the village hospitable (Maori of New Zealand).

Essay on Traditions vs. Modern Values Assignment

This conflict is one of the major themes in Whale Rider. Pai is the grand-daughter of a chief with no heir to the position; she has a tremendous inner life, and seems to instinctually know that she has special gifts that remain undefined. Koro, the grandfather, is also the chief but Pai's father, after the death of his wife and Pai's twin brother, seemed to lose his faith and interest in Maori tradition. He loves his daughter, but cannot seem to find a place in either the traditional culture nor the modern world -- traveling to Germany to pursue art, but returning occasionally to rekindle the relationship with his daughter. The other characters in the tribe, Grandmother Nanny Flowers and Uncle Rawiri follow Koro's lead -- in public, but seem to privately have doubts about the way in which the anti-female traditions apply to Pai.

Nanny Flowers cares for Pai and tries to channel her into a more traditional role, but secretly knows that Pai is different from the other children and has something quite special. Uncle Rawiri, despite the strict prohibition of a woman touching a weapon, simply cannot stand by and allow Pai to be so unhappy while the boys of her group to learn the traditional ways. Although he has been schooled in the "old ways," for some reason, he can find no practical reason why she should not learn how to wield the taiaha. Even Koro, the most stolid of the traditionalists, cannot help but be charmed by Pai's unique ability to unconditionally love and understand nature far beyond her chronological age.

One can certainly view Whale Rider as a coming of age drama not just for Pai, but the way other characters interact to move through period of psycho-social crisis, grow and develop, and resolve issues. This resolution also makes them more equipped to deal with other life situation as well. All major characters have a psycho-social crisis that is resolved, with Pia as the locus. Koro thinks Pia's continual pushing of tradition. When Pia is able to coax the mystical whales back into the ocean by "riding" the largest, even though her crisis is almost drowning, then Koro, Nanny Flowers, her father and Uncle all realize that she is the chosen leader, if not by the tribe, by the whales themselves -- likely representational of nature.

One can also view Whale Rider through pscyho-social eyes. Vgotsky, for instance, posits that a "zone of priximal development" is necessary to challenge learning. In other words, each and every step of Pai's challenges moved her towards her destiny, but it was the individual steps that helped… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Download full paper (5 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

Traditions vs. Values Essay

Metaphysics Versus Psychology Dissertation

Effects of Slavophilic Russian Ideas vs. The Modern World Globalization Research Paper

Personal Values Development Essay

Spirituality vs. Religion Term Paper

View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Traditions vs. Modern Values" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Traditions vs. Modern Values.  (2010, November 28).  Retrieved April 14, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Traditions vs. Modern Values."  28 November 2010.  Web.  14 April 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Traditions vs. Modern Values."  November 28, 2010.  Accessed April 14, 2021.