The Whale Rider
1. Chapter 1 begins in myth, and myths explain what was once unexplainable to a people. What does the myth of the whale rider explain to the Maori people?
2. Chapter 2 gives us the point of view of the whales. The bull whale remembers his master, the "golden man." Do you think that the whale is as old as the myth, or do you think that the whale draws on the collective memory of his culture? Or, do you have another idea? Give your answer with reasons.
3. Chapter 3 is about the birth of Kahu. Why is Koro upset that Kahu is a girl?
4. What is the controversy about Kahu's name?
5. What could be the significance of the whale sounding when Nanny, Rawiri and the boys bury Kahu's birth cord?
6. How is Kahu different from typical babies in Chapter 4?
7. The first part of the novel is titled "Spring: The Force of Destiny." Explain why this appropriate in terms of archetypes.
8. Chapter 5 starts a new section of the novel, 'Summer: Halycon's Flight". What does this foreshadow?
9. What does it mean when Kahu bites Koro's toe?
10. What are the tests for Maori leadership?
1. Why does Koro not like to be called Paka?
2. Discuss the idea of interlock.
3. Which character fits the archetype of the Earth Mother and why?
4. Which character seems to Kahu's mentor?
5. Explain the wisdom of the traditional Maori fishing style.
6. How does Kahu's relationship with the whales show itself?
7. What could have caused the flash of bright light and radioactive seas that caused the Whales to flee their traditional waters in chapter 9? The approximate time period in human terms was WWII, 1946--you'll probably have to do a little research for this one.
8. Why does Rawiri go to Australia?
9. What does Rawiri learn of the perception of Maori by the plantation owners in Papua New Guinea?
10. Discuss Kahu's trials and how she...
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