Journey by Patricia Grace
Bravo, Tasca, Millán, Quiroga, Allende and Reynal
Write briefly about the context (setting)
Maoris/Pakehas (their relationship to the land). Why do Maori spiritual beliefs favour burial over cremation?
Process of colonization and decolonization
-The story is settled in New Zealand, in the 1980s, in a context of post colonisation, where different tribes live together, such as the Maoris and Pakehas, who favour burial over cremation as for them land is sacred, and people must be forever attached to it. Although these tribes had lived in the country for very long, they are still unrespected and mistreated.
Analysis on the story
Answer the following questions in a google presentation (June 29)
1) What is the purpose of the old man’s journey?
-The purpose of his journey is to avoid his land being taken away from him, in order to fight for it to be kept by his family. A businessman wants to take his land away from him in order to build a parking Lot. In a way, this journey is kind of metaphoric as in fact, it refers to this man’s life journey.
2) To what extent did the officials listen to the old man? Find a quote that supports your point of view and suggest what tone the remarks are made in.
The officials did not listen to the man at all.
“Get out old man, do you hear” the tone is cold and distant, they want him to leave.
3)‘And anyway Sir there’s no advantage do you think in you people all living in the same area.’ Why do the authorities think there isn’t any benefit to the family living close together?
This officials do not have the custom and the appreciation that the maoris ( the old man ) have.
However, the young no longer have any special feeling for their land.
The Maoris had close emotional bonds with their land; personal land was always divided among the family; that way land stayed with the same family. Though the old man appreciates some of the new things that the authorities have introduced, he feels happiest when he sees things that remain “the same”. He cherishes old things and old friends.
4)‘Why does the old man want to be cremated instead of buried?
He wants to be cremated because he believes that burying someone is not longer safe as materialistic Industrialists may dig up his bones and transfer it somewhere else.
5) How do the opening two paragraphs and the closing passage from ‘They were quiet wondering if he would say anything else,…’ reflect the Uncle’s changing mood?
At the beginning of the story the man is optimistic and excited about his journey to town, where he attempts to claim the land that belongs to him to his family even before his death. After he comes back, he is really frustrated and disappointed as he realized that all what Pakehas think all the time is about development, where they change to make the land suitable for housing and railway and make the natural patterns be are altered forever.
6) Why do you think the story concludes with Uncle ‘looking at the palm of his hands’
The fact that the old man looks at the palms of his hands while sitting on his bed is something important. By looking at his hands he may again realise how physically and symbolically powerless he actually is. Earlier in the story he wanted to hit Paul with his hands but knew that he no longer had the power.
7) Grace employs a motif of blindness / sight throughout the story, why do you think?‘
‘Yes he knows all about those things, he’s not deaf and blind yet, not only by a long shot.’
’…they’ve got the name of the canoes spelt wrong, his old eyes aren’t as blind as that.’
‘His eyes are still good enough to look all over the paper and see his land there, and to see that his land has been shaded in and ‘Off Street Parking’ printed on it.
- I believe this is done with purpose of conveying different facts. Firstly, this sense of blindness is used by Grace to show how old the old man was, and in a way weak and vulnerable, as he was alone and did not have a good sight, what conveys pity as well. Furthermore, I believe this is used as well to show how amusing the land was, as in a way they were so great and important that where too much for the human eye and may blind the old man’s eye. Finally Grace may have used this sense of blindness to show how mentally blind the old man was, as he couldn’t realize he had nothing to do in his journey but to admire nature and land one more time, as in fact, he was alone in his struggle to save his land, had no real support, and had no real chance against those ambitious businessmen. Still, he moved on and couldn’t see he had already lost.
7) Why do you think Grace gave the ‘a’ in admiration a capital letter in this phrase; ‘..and roadways threading up and round the hills to layer on layer of houses, even in the highest and steepest places. He was filled with admiration. Filled with Admiration…but yes he was filled right to the top-it made him tired taking it all in.’?
The author, gave a capital letter to emphasize the irony, because he is not really feeling that admiration.
8) Comment closely on the ending of the story.
-Finally, The old man is treated as a fool and returns home lost and hands empty, as he has failed in his, maybe futulous attempt of maintaining his land and not losing against the businessmen. In the end, the old man achieved nothing and disappointed not only himself but his family, as he wasn’t able to maintain his land in his family. We may say that in a way he failed towards his tribe, as he wasn’t able to protect his own land, considered sacred.
- Extension Questions (July 4)
a. Write at least two sentences on how the old man views the land and the way the Pakeha have ‘developed it’? Do embed a short quote into each sentence.
- Land, what a glorious thing to dedicate time to. Its rich in life… I can’t imagine what life could have been before, without the interfering of this Pakehas. ‘Funny people these pakehas, had to chop up everything. Couldn’t talk to a hill or a tree these people, couldn’t give the trees or the hills a name and make them special and leave them. Couldn’t go round, only through. Couldn’t give life, only death.’
- “When I go burn me up. No one’s going to mess about with me when I’m gone”. The old man sees land as something fully sacred and divine, something that must be respected and adored, but for him, this land has been unrespected, and the government has damaged it, that’s why he believes that the land he knew was now gone, and he did not really belong to it anymore. In addition, he could not protect his own land, so he may not deserve to be buried In it.
- Use the quotes below / overleaf, or others from the text and your knowledge of the old man’s character to write at least two sentences on what kind of person he is. Do include an embedded quote in each sentence.
-The old man is a very honorable and devoted person, as he tries hard and does everything he can in order to save his land, honour his tribe and fights to retain the land for his family, although he fails. “Yes, he knows this place like his own big toe…”
– The old man may be stubborn person, as well as an old fashion one, as he takes too long to understand that he had no real chance of protecting his land and defeating the business man. He cannot understand he had already failed. “but people have to have houses”.
What is your opinion on how Grace has structured the story: consider the physical journey, opening and ending taxi rides, and the reader’s journey
In my opinion, Grace gives with the structure of the story the messages of the story an also build up the themes and tones of the characters. With the taxi rides the old man notices the changes of everything, The difference that time has brought. As a reader we follow the old man journey as more as a physical journey, as a soul journey, were he completes his transition and ends up understanding that he had failed saving his land.
Individual work: choose an option to write an essay
1.Discuss the narrator’s character in ‘Journey’ by Patricia Grace, to what extent do you sympathise with his attitude to the land?
2. How does Grace make you feel about the elderly narrator in Journey?