October 12, 2003
Whale Rider, Wordsworth and the Romantic Journey
The romantic journey deals with the understanding of the static world, the spiritual world, death, rebirth and the return to the world with affirmations. Both the movie Whale Rider, and Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" are examples of the Romantic Journey. Whale Rider is a timeless story that involves spiritual death and mystical awakenings. It features not only the proof that children have a stronger view of heaven than do adults, but also illustrates the painful fall from innocence into experience. Similarly, Tintern Abbey is an illustration of nature viewed from the eyes of innocence. Each revolves around a spiritual death and secular conversion. Each journey features a person that moves from trust in the universe to a period of doubt and despair, then to a reaffirmation of faith in cosmic goodness, or understanding. The Romantic Journey is a journey that is eternal and transcends eras both before and after the Romantic Age.
The movie Whale Rider begins in a static world. While there is movement, it is an absolute mundane movement, in that nothing cosmically spectacular or out of the ordinary occurs. It is in this stale mundane movement of life that tragedy and death occur. A woman giving birth to twins dies in childbirth along with the male twin. Pai, the surviving twin, is a Maori girl living in a village on the coast of New Zealand. After the death her brother and mother's death, Pai's father leaves for Europe. Left with her grandparents and no other siblings, Pai is, essentially, alone in the world. Thus begins the community's, as well a Pai's journey.
Pai's grandfather, Koro, lets her know under no uncertain terms, that he has no use for her. She tries...