[EPUB] ✴ Once Were Warriors By Alan Duff – Saudionline.co.uk

Once Were Warriors quotes Once Were Warriors, litcharts Once Were Warriors, symbolism Once Were Warriors, summary shmoop Once Were Warriors, Once Were Warriors 34ac75eb This Hard Hitting Novel Is Frank And Uncompromising In Its Portrayal Of Maoris N New Zealand Society The Driving Force Of Writing Carries The Reader Into A World Of Frustration, Resentment And Waste It Is A Raw, Powerful Story, In Which Everyone Is A Victim Until The Strength And Vision Of One Woman Transcends Brutality And Leads The Way To A New AlternativeFirst Part Of What Would Later Become The Once Were Warriors Trilogy

10 thoughts on “Once Were Warriors

  1. says:

    This started out a book review, but it s also a bit of a personal essay, and it s not all pretty And this is really long, consider yourselves warned I thought about doing the 30 day book challenge, but there s always this one question in those kinds of things that make me pause This time it was A book that reminds you of home And this book and the devastatingly good movie made from it are always the first thing that springs to mind.Ironically the movie came up in a class this week Cultural Studies class , and everyone turned to me as if to say It s really overdramatised right And I had to tell them no, it s not So I got stuck writing a paper on it, go me And I can t, I just can t be academic and objective, because it hurts like a sonuvabitch So I m writing it out, in hopes that when I ve spilled my soul out here, I won t have any left and I can write that damn paper.If you don t know it, go watch this movie trailer, under 2 minutes Once Were Warriors TrailerNow I m not writing this to make anyone feel bad, just that all of us didn t grow up happy, or feeling loved, and home for me is a four letter word I left when I was 15, not entirely voluntarily, but not entirely unhappily to be out of it either I haven t spoken to most of my family in 15 years, and now that my grandparents are gone, I don t really have any reason to ever speak to any of them again.So let s see, why does it remind me of home Native minority poor, encouraged to urbanise and integrate into white society, but lacking the culture or skills to understand how to do so Check Institutionalised poverty Check Kids sitting in the car in the pub carpark with a bag of chips and a coke, if they re lucky, while mum and dad are in the pub drinking Check Preteen kids cleaning the house of broken beer bottles before school the next morning, after getting no sleep because the party spilled over to the house after the pub closed Check Kids sleeping under bridges, huffing superglue, because nobody gives a damn or takes them home, and oh well they re brown kids anyway Check Violence as a part of daily life problems are solved with fists Check A complete disconnect from the kids own culture, because the above mentioned urbanization Check For background, Maori make up about 15% of the population of NZ, and are economically doing pretty well right now But this book is set before that happened, before the resurgence in culture and language and self sovereignty Back when we were being encouraged to integrate and assimilate and self hate and lots of other things ending in ate The title alludes to the fact that once upon a time, Maori were warriors, strong, independent, self sufficient and proud But isolated in cities, doing unskilled labour, and drinking away their wages, urban Maori in the 70 s and 80 s had very little to be proud of The book is actually set in the 50 s, but it s pretty timeless The movie is set in the 80 s.The plot Well, we have Beth Heke, who grew up in a quite different environment, in one of the few Maori settlements that retained it s integrity and connection to the culture but gave it up for a city boy, Jake And Jake the Muss short for muscles is handsome and charming, and he took her away to the city and they had fine children, but he s a mean mean drunk, and with no hope and nothing really to look forward to, he drinks a lot And to escape the pain, so does Beth.The kids are or less dragging themselves up, and not doing a spectacular job of it The eldest, Nig, is 18 and joins a gang, just seeking to belong somewhere because he sure doesn t belong at home, and the next oldest is continuously being caught at petty crime, 12 year old Grace is struggling to still see the beauty of the world, with her battered notebook of stories and drawings, many based on Maori legends, and stuck with being a mother figure to the youngest ones Two things happen that catalyse things for this damaged family The story opens with the second oldest son arrested once too many times, and taken away to the foster care, in the hands of an old warrior who still remembers what that means Now even Beth can t continue to pretend that her family isn t broken Especially when the reason she can t be there to defend him and ask for him to allowed to come home, is because she can barely stand from the beating she got the night before.And she tries, she really tries to fix it, but some things just can t be fixed And so she falls back into the same patterns, the drinking and living with violence, until it all comes to a head in a tragedy that was or less inevitable Because some people can survive horrible things happening to them, and some can t, especially when they are young and alone and sensitive.And I ll tell you now, there is a happy ending, but not in the and everyone lived their wildest dreams forever after sense, but in a rage, rage against the dying of the light sense Beth finds strength and reconnects with her true self, and her family and her culture, and finally does fix things, but it s too late for at least one of the children, and it s far far too late for Jake, who is just too damaged to save But Beth finally stops going gentle into anyone s night and takes her life and her children s into her own hands, and you get a sense that maybe the light isn t dying after all, it s just the dark before a dawn.Thing is, I could have been Beth Heke My mother pretty much was And I could have been Grace, except I was luckier than her And when people say oh you re from New Zealand, it s so beautiful there, how could you ever leave , I want to hand them a copy of this book and say this is why Except I don t, because they saw Lord of the Rings and all that spectacular scenery and all the happy brown people in the tourist ads, and they just don t want to hear it And yes, I know things have changed, and a lot, but there s things you can t forgive, and places that even thinking about going to are painful, so I smile and nod and say yes, it s very beautiful I mean look at this picture I used to live here, for the last couple of years before I left NZ, my old house is just off the left of the picture People see these pictures and just think ahh, heavenly and there s so much to it than that.TaurikuraIf you read this far, you re probably thinking you don t want to read this book, but really, it s good There s a reason it s a NZ classic But it s bleak, and violent and angry, and well Maybe you should get the movie It s not a fun read, and I doubt anyone who ever read it said they loved it the way you can love something that makes you happy But if you think NZ is all sunshine and hobbits, this will give you a very different view Warning though, there is some serious violence including really don t click this if you are sensitive view spoiler an underage rape, and a suicide hide spoiler

  2. says:

    Well That was as expected a full on read Once Were Warriors is a critically important, confronting story of the colonial legacy of disenfranchisement, victimisation, cultural dislocation, poverty and violence in New Zealand This novel is an uncompromising portrait of the issues in New Zealand society that are most difficult for us to knowledge, and even harder still to begin to mend Although almost 20 years old, sadly, this story hasn t dated nearly as much as we d like to imagine it is It is a story about what it s like to live a really hard life, and how difficult it is to escape a cycle of poverty, violence and neglect, what it is like to be an outsider in your own land, and the importance of our history I was immensely moved by this.

  3. says:

    I read this book as part of my self proclaimed New Zealand November It was in a pile loaned by a professor who worked for years in Australia.This was a very difficult read for several reasons One is the violence it is set in the middle of the 20th century, in urban New Zealand, where people descended from native New Zealanders former warriors are now marginalized and living in poverty This leads to the usual issues of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, unsupervised children, death, suicide, gangs It centers around a couple Jake and Beth, and their children It is graphic, it is unrelenting, it is harsh But from what I understand of that period, accurate If you think of New Zealand in rolling green hills and hobbitses, even just taking a look at the trailer for the movie version should set you right The second reason this is difficult to read is that it alternates between 3 4 characters the parents, and 1 2 children As a reader I didn t want to be in any of their heads The father is a drunk and abusive, violent and feared The mother is abused but turns her victimization into neglect of her children At the start of the novel one of her sons is removed from her home The daughter deals with trying to care for herself and her siblings, while enduring sexual assault, resorting to huffing, etc The prose is dense yet meandering, very much inside the characters heads.From what I understand, while not everything is perfect these days in New Zealand, some effort has gone into raising the standards of the Maori people within the country although I read a play set in 2000 that expressed disbelief that tourists would hitchhike, believing it to be safe Maori culture has been adopted appropriated it s hard to know where that line is from the outside by everything from rugby to the military At least in honoring the culture of warriors, perhaps that pulls them from the margins I m not certain But I felt this book raises many questions like that and is worth a read.

  4. says:

    It took a while to read this rather short book of fiction for two reasons First, because it written in a dialect using the thoughts of characters damaged by hardships and violence, alcohol and lost or lacking education And second, because the subject matter was so tough it was hard to handle much in one sitting The story takes place in an urban New Zealand Maori community The family depicted is fathered by Jake Heke, a fists always ready man whose prowess hinges on intimidation His medium is beer and his friends are a drunken lot of the same ilk The children of his family and seemingly the entire community are left to fend for themselves on the streets Heke s wife, Beth, has a strain of white in her In her marriage to Jake she has also succumbed to drink and beatings when she speaks her mind And this is the beginning They have a handful of children, Nig, the oldest at seventeen, yearns to belong to the Brown Fists The Brown Fists exist in reality And as gangs go, they rate right up there in the violence factor The second son, Boog, has a soft heart but ends up being taken away by the state when only his sister Grace is with him at his trial And Grace, begins as the saving grace of the family, but becomes a symbol of the utter hopelessness of the Maori lives in their hopeless community and her story should tear any parent s heart apart But without giving anything away, I ll say that she also becomes the catalyst of change So change does begin and hope starts to push it s way into the community by the book s end, but it s a really tough story, authentically brought to life through realistic thoughts and language My enjoyment of the book was so low, that it s tempting to give it a low rating But the writing is so well executed and it is a story needs to be told And a story that needs to reach readers like me Another book I would never have read if not for the Goodreads community Kudos Note This is the first of a series, but it works as a stand alone book.

  5. says:

    Oscar Wilde is reported as saying, There are no good books or bad books A book is well written or badly written That is all Well, I don t know if he actually said that Like Twain and Franklin, ol Oscar gets attributed boatloads of things he never actually wrote I m not sure I d agree with it straight across the board, but there are some extremely well written books out there that make damned uncomfortable reading and yet you read them This is one.A friend of mine had to read this book for Other Culture Sources degree in Eng Lit and she brought it to me, totally confused That s understandable when English was not her native language I told her, Start by reading the first chapter aloud Once you get the rhythm etc it is easier She said it helped.Be warned, this is not lilywhite travelogue fiction This is angry, sweaty, sad Shit Happens, and this is what happened fiction And it s not terribly fictional as in, people live like this, and not just in NZ.Don t read it if you don t want to think about it for days afterward.

  6. says:

    I don t know if I can say I actually liked this book I recognize its importance, and it had a huge impact on me Once Were Warriors is a brutal account of a Maori family who lives in government housing and receives welfare money The father, Jake, lost his job, but didn t bother finding a new one as he got paid nearly as much to not work at all Since he gives half his welfare check to his wife to maintain the household and feed their six children, he feels like a pretty good guy He keeps the other half so he can pay for beer and food for himself When he s drunk, he beats his wife The mother, Beth, tries to keep her home neat and take care of her kids, but all to often, she is drunk as well The oldest son is joining the local gang The next son is taken by child and family services and put in a boy s home The next, a daughter, tries to take care of the younger ones and dreams of a better life However, she is repeatedly molested at night during her parents parties and is afraid to talk to her mother about it Eventually, she becomes so depressed she hangs herself This event serves as a wake up call for Beth She begins to connect with the history of her people She finds the strength to kick Jake out of the house and take control of her life Desperately sad for the loss of her children, she goes out into the neighborhood and gathers up the lost, lonely, hungry children and begins to feed them First with food, then with stories of their warrior history As stark and painful as this story is, the ending is hopeful There is a sense that even one person doing just a little can make a big difference Although this book is mainly intended as a story of the pain and struggle of the Maori people, I believe it translates into any language and any time and place It is the story of people who have lost hope, who don t have pride in themselves It is the culture that is created when the men don t have jobs and drink to escape It is the culture that is created when the women take the beatings and their children watch and hear And then in their pain they lash out at anyone who tries to find something better, as though it was a personal insult It is found in every race and every culture Finding a solution to the evils of poverty and ignorance is the main problem of humanity Why was this book so difficult to read So many reasons Obviously, the content is really rough It would be nearly impossible to tell this type of story without using brutal language and images Another thing that is difficult about it is the style of writing Alan Duff writes like he is inside the heads of the characters There aren t quotation marks defining who is talking and often there aren t really clear transitions between characters This style is difficult to read, but also lends weight to the story being told The reader is looking out at the world through the eyes of the characters and seeing what they see and feeling what they feel It is very personal And that is the thing that really got to me It is so personal I can look around me and see people who are living like Jake and Beth in the story I can see people trying to escape that life and the struggle it is for them And now, thanks to Alan Duff, I have seen it through the eyes of someone living it and I know than I used to.

  7. says:

    I saw the film years ago and it is devastating And very accurate, sadly This book is not cute People see NZ as beautiful but you can t live on landscapes NZ is also a world leader or close to it in so many things that we can t feel proud of youth suicide, teenage pregnancy, family violence, especially to children Poverty breeds these things and there is plenty of that here Machismo is the way to go for many NZers it is still seen as being strong The men here remain inarticulate a generalisation, of course which I think contributes it s hard to deal with emotions if you have no way of expressing them.This story of the disintegration of a family that was already brutalised is painful to read how much painful must it be to live it and I know families like it who can be seen There are many who are less visible but just as toxic The events as they unfold in the story are entirely believeable Do also see the film especially if you did NOT come from a violent background If you did, both book and film may constitute Groundhog Day and you are excused from reading it Unless you want to, of course

  8. says:

    I m actually on the fence I really liked the book, as much as you can like a depressing book that has a fairly predictable plot, because I do feel like it was written from a deep personal reflection the author is half Maori I believe However I think the danger in these types of novels is if it is all you read about Maoris you think, oh I know their story drunks, addicts, abusers and there you go, you ve categorized a whole racial group As long as you remember that this is fiction and also one perspective, then I think it s a good if sad book Worth a read if you are going to NZ for the first time and are trying to get a non guide book introduction although, I recommend reading another book about Maoris, which I had so I knew some of the terms they threw around about the tattoos, fights, feasts, etc as the author assumes you are familiar with them.

  9. says:

    Once Were Warriors comes at you like a slap or likely, a punch in the face The writing is harsh and certainly doesn t waste time with niceties, but it s engaging and often surprisingly beautiful The characters are tragic, living in the limbo of poverty, addiction, and abuse The story is shockingly, heartbreakingly real One of the most striking moments for me came right at the beginning, when Beth considers the lack of books in their home, or the homes of any of her neighbours and friends This was such a contrast with my own childhood, I couldn t stop thinking about it, much the same as Beth herself It might be interesting for other readers to know that Alan Duff began his own charitable organisation, Duffy Books in Homes, which now provides New Zealand schools in low socio economic areas with at least five free books per year, per child Having worked in such a school myself, I ve seen the books being delivered, and the excitement on the student s faces as they open them up and start reading It s wonderful to see the author was inspired to initiate this.Of course this is a story based on experience, but I do think Alan Duff s personal voice and thoughts came through a little too much at times through Beth Additionally, some points of the ending seemed a little too suddenly and neatly tied up for me But overall, I very much enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading the sequels and seeing the movie adaptations.

  10. says:

    This book was severely disturbing to me When the movie came out and was instantly pinned with awards I was quite sceptical as movies never really quite live up to the books Seeing this book on screen disturbed me even than the book This is the rawest of raw written account on family violence and suicide that I have ever read and watched in my life Bravo for both versions.

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