In a Native Village Essay by Louis Becke

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A Village of Hypocrites
In Louis Becke’s short story, “In a Native Village”, tensions build between the native islanders and a white trader from Australia. Throughout the story, there are many incidents in which people are in constant search for ways to benefit their own selfish needs through financial gain. From the village elders to the young children, there are attempts to swindle the Australian trader by false accusations. A constant back-and-forth battle occurs between the trader and the natives by the enforcement of fines for the villager’s monetary gain. The island is populated by hypocritical natives that claim to practice Christian principles, but are truly a group of selfish and greedy people. In Becke’s story, his interpretation of the villagers is that of a savage group of people that do not even seem to realize their own hypocrisies. It is revealed in several parts of his story that the natives had at some point in time adopted Christianity, but the actions of the people speak otherwise. In the trader’s words, “In the course of a few weeks some terrific encounters had taken place between my women servants and other of the local females, who regarded them as vile usurpers of their right to rob and plunder the new white man” (par. 1). Villagers attempting to rob and plunder the trader, certainly does not uphold the Christian morals that the people of the island claim to practice.

The town councilors of the village are a group of people known as the Kaupule. The group consists of respected elders that are responsible for running the village. People that are looked up to such as the Kaupule, would most likely be a group of people that uphold good morals for others of a younger generation to follow. The fabrication of the Kaupule’s story of a horse brought from New Zealand to the island that has damaged the villager’s crops is symbolic of the villager’s feelings towards the white man on the native island. The conversation between the...
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