Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Building Walls

Book Two: Alofa - Tausi profoundly depicts the impact of family life of the self and one’s identity. I cannot fathom the idea of identify my mother solely as “the woman who gave birth to me,” but that was Alofa’s reality and what ultimately limited her while moving through life. Her explanations of her mother trying to kill her in the womb, the way she felt unable to even speak up, and the distance that was put between them are the bricks that make up the wall Alofa puts up to life. Her mother inflicted such emotional and physical pain on her that Alofa seems to experience loneliness to the extreme. She briefly says that she believes she will be able to take on anything from the difficulties she has experienced, but Alofa also makes it a point to discuss the walls that she has up. These contrasting ideas are brought to the stage during the final chapter of Book Two with Apa. Apa opens up to show that his hardship and emotional scars are seemingly reflections of Alofa’s. Apa has such love for Alofa and such passion for her, but once that is expressed, she retracts. He says “‘It is you, Alofa. My woman. My big and beautiful  Island woman. I love you. I want to scream it every time we walk on the pavement and people look at us’” (Figiel 211). Yes, her grandmother passes. And yes, Alofa is grieving. But once she was completely accepted by someone who has felt her pain and they share an emotional connection, Alofa steps back and says she has to stand on her own two feet. She says, “‘Apa, I don’t want to be a savior to anyone but myself. I wanna be my own savior’” (Figiel 221). But that raises the question in my mind of can she really save herself? She has been suffering for so much of her life from profound loneliness and insecurity in challenging situations. What she has experienced in life has formed her identity and familial relationships have a hand in that formation also. The lack of a relationship with her mother lead to loneliness and insecurity and those are very difficult to shake once they are instilled by your own blood. Alofa’s walls prevented her from expanding her life and letting herself take chances. I wanted to hug my parents after reading this part of the book simply because they gave me wings to explore, learn, and travel. 

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