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English Empathic Response Whale Rider

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jaxxiepeace
Words 1044
Pages 5
English – Empathic Response Essay

In this empathic response, I will be giving an insight into one of the main characters’ feelings in the book “The Whale Rider” by Witi Ihimaera. This character is Kahu, Koro Apirana’s great-granddaughter. A deep emotional understanding of the text pages 100-102 shall be demonstrated in this text through her perspective.

I must save the whale, my sacred ancestor; otherwise everyone that I love will perish. Daddy, Ana, Nani, Rawiri, Paka. Paka. Oh, Paka.

I plunged into the agitated, frigid waters with only one thought in my mind. I have to take action. If the ancient one dies, every single one of us will disappear. That’s what Paka said. I really don’t know what to think. I can’t bear the thought that my dear Paka and my family would cease to exist. I don’t even care about my own fate – as long as they are safe, I’ll be happy. Everything that has happened so far, the two hundred sacred whales dying has led to this – the very whale that our ancestor rode thousands of years ago has decided to wash up on our shores. This time, he has the intention of self-slaughter, which basically means it’s a sign that we humans are all going to die. Right now, nobody is even trying to do something about it. Except for me. I, Kahutia Te Rangi, direct descendant of Paikea, won’t let this happen to my loved ones. I’m going to have to try and save Whangara by sacrificing myself to the whale. If the whale lives, we live.

My line of vision narrowed down to only the distance between the whale and myself. The whale was all I could see. He was so beautiful. My bare skin touched the ice-cold water and I let out a high-pitched scream, but it was lost in the gusts of sea wind that blasted continuously towards my face. The cold was unbearable. It felt like multiple daggers were piercing into my skin. I can do this. I continued to swim toward the whale despite the obstacles. Paka would expect a boy to be able to endure this, right? The headlights from the beach were stunning my eyes, making it hard for me to see where I was going. If a boy can do this, I can.

Gritty seawater rushed into my open mouth and nostrils and as I choked and resisted the urge to vomit, another treacherous wave engulfed me, leaving me breathless in its indomitable power. I can do this. I kept up a steady breaststroke, but the waves kept propelling me towards the sharp, deadly rocks, which led me way off-course. It seemed like everything was battling against me, and that no one wanted me to succeed. Why me? I wanted to cry out. My heart thudded against my ribcage. Deep down, I felt scared. Very, very scared. Still, if this is what I have to do for Paka to acknowledge my love for him, then I’ll do whatever it takes. My whole body felt frozen as I slowly made progress towards the whale. I felt like I was an ice-cube that was bobbing up and down the forceful sea that was desperately trying to stay afloat, but in vain. Just like how my plans to impress Paka, to show him that he has a worthy great-granddaughter, are always, in vain.

As I continued towards the whale, my thoughts floated back to Paka. I had observed him and loved him since childhood, and yet he never tried to understand me. Did he ever notice me, accept that I was of his blood, as well? Never. He never gave me any encouragement, or any sort of love. I realized that after my performance night that he never bothered to come to. I’ve tried so many times to catch his attention, ever since I was young. I’ll admit it, I am feeling a little bitter. He treated me like an outsider, as if I was never there. He kept saying that because I was a girl, I was of no use to him, like I was a toy that could be thrown around at his liking. All he wanted was a boy whom he could teach to be the leader of a new generation, a boy who could do everything a girl couldn’t do. Well, that toy has feelings too, because I’m a human being, just like everyone else, and even if I’m a girl it doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t show respect to a fellow human being, especially if that human being is his great-granddaughter. Well, I can’t blame him. It’s not his fault. It’s just that his attitude really hurts my feelings sometimes. He never wanted me.

Karanga mai, karanga mai, karanga mai, I shouted at the top of my voice as I mustered all the courage I had within me. It was effortless, however, as the wind snatched at my words and threw them into the churning sea foam. So I tried again. Oh, sacred ancestor, I have come to you! I am Kahu. Ko Kahutia Te Rangi ahau! I needed the whale to know that I was coming. I stared directly at the eye of the whale. He must have heard me because I knew he could hear the elderly females wailing and mourning the plight of their leader, trying to call him back out to sea, just like I did. Only difference was that he was ignoring them. Suddenly, one of the spotlights from the beach dazzled momentarily upon the whale, and I saw that his eye had flickered open. He was looking at me.

I clambered up onto the higher rocks, closer to where the whale jaw was and clung onto it. As I hung dangerously onto the whale’s jaw, I sensed a tremble of anticipation shudder throughout his body. My stomach had a tingling feeling as I gazed directly into his dark brown eyes, which seemed to be filled with hope. I took a deep breath and patted the whale, reassuring him that everything was going to be okay.

“Greetings, ancient one. I have come to you. I am Ko Kahutia Te Rangi au. Ko Paikea.”

Word Count: 977

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