September 19, 2016
Author of the non-fictional book, The Ecstatic Nation, Terre Ryan described during her lecture how when she was a child,--nicknaming herself a “Cold War Kid”-- she had a constant sense of fear due to the fact that during the era she lived in, nuclear bombs could land in the United States, from the Soviet Union, at any given time. She recalled how there was a bomb that the United States used as a defense that was identified as “Trinity” that confused her because of the name having so much to do with her peaceful religion, and how bombs were described as the “ultimate” way of doing things. This was her childhood lifestyle; these were the conversations had at her dinner table, and the reasons why she was so petrified, when simply trying to grow up as a normal kid. As Ryan described her feelings of panic, when simply just walking to school, or playing in her family’s backyard, I started to reflect on my life in comparison. I don’t think that I have ever been so fearful of something happening, like our planet, blowing up my world, and leaving it to burn and die. I began to wonder how much less I would take the life I’m living today, for granted, if I had to live my entire life in constant fear of a very negative change, that could come at any time. Ryan used intense descriptions of her emotions, in her presentation and her speech, that left the entire audience with eyes wide open, thankful that we do not need to live in fear of an atomic bomb landing bullseye in our world. I think that after reading Whale Rider, I could connect the theme of fear, to the way that people in Maori lived in fear of the cultural and traditional aspects of their lives changing. The theme of fear connects clearly between both examples because both societies of people lived in an extreme amount of fear, due to their most important beliefs.
Missile Paradise is a fictional book written about a United States missile base, located on the Pacific atoll of Kwajalein from a firsthand trip with many amazing facts and descriptions by author, Ron Tanner. His reality of experience was made when he went to this United States missile base with his family, for his father’s job. He then began to take note of the different cultural lifestyles of the people around, and he decided to write a book, in the perspective of a man from the United States, working in the buildings on the missile base, adapting to life on the small, U-shaped island. The base itself included radar buildings that tracked any movement toward the United States, and also tested missiles that the United States could use in an act of battle. Tanner described in great detail the way women worked as cooks and housekeepers, and how men did the more masculine jobs in the household, along with how they traditionally praised where they lived. This world that Tanner entered into, turned into a story that Missile Paradise would not be without his visiting and living, on the missile range himself. While I listened to Tanner explain how describing his thoughts with specific detail made the readers believe any crazy thing he could say, I realized that he was right! He had made an entire auditorium of students learn from nothing, all about the Missile Range in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and how each and every day, it saves us from any danger that could come our way. The city of Kwahalein is extremely comparable to the Maori tribe because the way these people in these two societies live are the same; there are not outside influences that take part in their world except for everything and only what they have.
The speakers of the “Writers at Work” presentation made pure connections between the novel, Whale Rider, along with my own life, in comparison with their books.