[237120, A1] Wk 1: Task 4 – Reading Comprehension of the Author’s Voice (Option A)
The brief excerpt from Chapter 7 (Conclusion) of the publication ‘Notes to Myself: Writing from the Gut’ by Sheilagh Walker is a powerful representation of the author’s Mihimihi and its relevance in an academic setting.
Walker writes from her perspective as a Maori writing a master’s thesis on Maori Kaupapa – A form of resistance movement by Maori tribesman working towards the inclusion of Maori culture and history within New Zealand’s predominantly Pakeha frameworks.
The excerpt covers the difficulties of retaining her Maori identity in a framework that does not accommodate the role of a single voice speaking on behalf of a people.
The voice of the text is frustrated, often repeating the word ‘struggle’ and applying negative imperative language such as ‘don’t’ and ‘not only’. Her use of rhetorical questioning in statements such as “Anyway, aren’t I relevant?” are powerful methods to express the struggle of her people.
The text employs an authority that comes with erudite social commentary. Walker frequently uses the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘myself’ to inject herself into the narrative. It allows us to simultaneously accept her commentary as a valid, first-hand account, while allowing us to empathise with her situation on a personal level.
Her approach to such a sensitive matter involving ethnicity and belonging is tactful, making it non-threatening by attacking institution rather than groups of people. It encourages an audience of any cultural background to see the struggle of the Maori people from her perspective.