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Whale Rider

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Empathic Response – Whale Rider – Kahu

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. I will be responding to the part in the book, when Kahu rides the whale.

“Why? Kahu asked Koro Apirana. ‘Our ancestor wants to die.’ ‘ But why?’ ‘There is no place for it here in this world. The people who commanded it are no longer here.’ He paused. ‘When it dies, we die, I die.’ ‘No, Paka. And if it lives?’ ‘Then we live also.’

I plunged into the 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. Every now and then, I had to take a deep breath because the waves were like dumpers, slamming me down to the sandy bottom. The lights from the beach were dazzling my eyes, making it hard to see, but I kept on going.

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. 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? As...

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