28 February 2013
Sons for the Return Home
In the beginning of part two, Wendt parallels the external with the internal, that is—he compares the boy’s internal emotions with that of the external environment: the weather. Wendt writes: “The night was chilly, a stiff wind was blowing in from the south, and the black starless sky echoed the fear he felt: for the first real time, he was confronted with the fact that he could lose her”(122). In this moment, Wendt includes a romantic narrative in which he describes the weather as a way to shed light on the boy’s emotional state, and vice versa. This provides Wendt’s audience with a better understanding of the text.
I found it interesting when the mother and the boy discuss his potential desire to marry the girl. Upon expressing his certitude in pursuing marriage, his mother exclaims, “’No!’…refusing to accept the severance of the umbilical cord. ‘She is a papalagi. You cannot love her enough to want to marry her!’”(134). In this quotation, the boy’s mother displays her true colors—she proves herself to be the most racist character within Wendt’s text. It is also important to note the use of “umbilical cord”, referring to a natural process. The boy is severing his biological ties to not only his mother, but to his culture. In this moment, the boy can be seen as straying away from the restricting nature of racial barriers; his mother’s denial affirms his deep- rooted presence in Samoan culture. In severing the umbilical cord, he is leaving his comfort zone—his home; the boy is now ready to fully commit to participate in an inter-racial relationship.