I remember in class discussing what is part of our literary lineage. Most books I have read imprinted something of significance, but what is engrained, as the greatest influences are On The Road and Walden. Jack Kerouac and Henry David Thoreau, respectively, monumentally altered my mind in a plethora of ways. Both have supplied my shaping of an aversion for conformity and an instinct to be free. It might seem cliché because we all have to conform, like taking classes, and all long to be free, as liberated people, but it’s different if the fight is deliberate. Warding off external influences is difficult, but Thoreau said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” (Thoreau, 182). Now to “live deliberately” or “front only the essential facts of life” may seem wide open, but it affected me to simplify my life. Thoreau spoke to me and I listened; by not letting my life get “fretted away by detail” and not worrying about superfluous and superficial things (183). Kerouac has lit a different fire; his road trip as Sal Paradise, absorbing the vibrant life of Dean Moriarity is how I interpret myself. The dichotomy of Sal and Dean is stark, so is my life’s spectrum. Sometimes I am unpredictably impulsive and truly wild like Sal, other times I am reserved and reflective as Sal, the narrator of the novel. I have internalized this wonderful book and integrated it with how to experience life and accept my prodigal nature. On The Road and Walden have made a tremendous impact on my thought patterns and perspective; they have afforded me with a homeland that engenders freedom, spontaneity, and aversion for conformity. This foundation, this homeland, this duo of books make all the difference for how I interpret the past and envision the future.
Patricia Grace builds her own homeland, New Zealand, through the depiction of the Maori community. She conveys a struggle of geographic and physical homelands through a diverse multitude of POV story telling. The physical description of the land in Roimata is significant because it points to larger scenes. Grace writes, “this piece of land is the family land of the Tamihanas. Our houses stand close together on this, the papakainga, and they window the neatened curve of sea. Towards this curve we pitch our eyes constantly, tides of eyes rolling in reverse action to the sea” (Grace, 15). The beginning of the novel posits themes through the typified depiction of the physical setting. The connotation or interpretation I felt and had was: “the family land of the Tamihanas” means legacy and tradition by means of relating character to land, “our houses stand close together” or communal fortitude, “neatened curve of the sea” conveys a picturesque landscape and a theme of natural order ( the sea neatens or organizes the land). When Grace says about the Pacific Ocean, “we pitch our eyes constantly, tide of eyes rolling in reverses action to the sea” she implies multiple things. She is saying that we, the Maori community, soar above and admire the sea or nature’s control, but loathe the incoming tide of eyes who interrupt the natural order of things. This brings up the conflict of sacred lands and tourist attractions (reverse actions).
I love the imagery of “scalloped edges of the land” it takes my mind to the perfectly formed shell of a scallop (15). I infer a land of smooth pinkish sand and rounded edges because of the timelessness of the Pacific Ocean. It has been said that the Pacific Ocean “has no memory” and its effect should be of constant impression (Shawshank Redemption).