Once Were Warriors is New Zealand author Alan Duff's bestselling first novel, published in It tells the story of an urban Māori family, the Hekes, and. Once Were Warriors book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Once Were Warriors is Alan Duff's harrowing vision of his count. unulelteoco.ml: Once Were Warriors (): Alan Duff: Books.

Once Were Warriors Book

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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Part of Hawaii's TalanoaContemporary Pacific Literature imprint, this first novel won the PEN Best First Book. A New Zealand classic, this novel is a raw and powerful portrayal of Maori in New Zealand society. Alan Duff's groundbreaking first novel is one. On the back cover of Once Were Warriors, Alan Duff's novel is The book is also a postcolonial cry of the heart denouncing one race's.

Thus, dialogism understands identity as a process in which the meanings of self and other are contextually produced. This shifts any understanding of self away from immanent essence to fundamental ambivalence: the meaning of self develops as a variable vantage point from which discursive events are observed as otherness.

This third space displaces the histories that constitute it, and sets up new structures of authority, new political initiatives, which are inadequately understood through received wisdom […].

In Rutherford Once Were Warriors constructs a postcolonial third space of urban Maoriness out of the refusal of totalising mainstream narratives and the deconstruction of the binary nation-space. This process of discursive relocation is as much a physical battle as an intellectual tour de force.

All ov-ah. As though last throes, last throes, last-minute acts before the curtain fell; or to complete something, satisfy sumpthin. A man could see this.

Tomorrow, gonna do. The aim of this near-cacophony is to plunge the reader into the palpable, abject reality of the Maori slum. This physical separation establishes a disempowering dialogue with the slum, whose name Pine Block immediately clarifies that in this abject environment people yearn for what is on the other side. This is symbolised by the residential suburban possessions of the white Trambert family, within sight across green pastureland but forever out of Maori reach.

Lacking the discursive tools to address his shortcomings, he wallows in the aggressive urban warrior image, a perversion of the indomitable-warrior myth that formerly informed the honour and prestige of Maori manhood.

Its foil, surrender in tribal warfare, would bring irreparable shame, and therefore enslavement and stifling marginalisation.

Conquered us. Novel and film… our land, our mana [pride], left us with nothing.

A New Zealand classic, this novel is a raw and powerful portrayal of Maori in New Zealand society.

But the warriors thing got handed down, see […] in a mixed-up sense it did. With both parents having succumbed to a crippling discourse on Maori urban modernity, their children have no prospects in life. Thus he is persuaded to exchange what remains of the Heke family network for a destructive version of the Maori extended kinship tradition —gang membership. Taken out of the dysfunctional family environment, he goes through a radical transformation under the guidance of a Maori welfare officer who teaches him his Maori cultural heritage as part of an enabling sense of self.

Unable to cope with the realities of slum life, she chooses the sturdy oak tree planted in the Trambert backyard to hang herself, facing the opportunities she was never given. The disabling slum heteroglossia on ethnic womanhood has provoked an all too early, too violent awakening of her self amidst alienating discourse, causing her destruction. From a magazine it was; about everyone having the right —the right, it said— to realise their potential.

It sat there in her mind as clear as a neon sign. Thus the novel transforms the trope of female death into female resurrection De Souza 15, 23 , but plays on the trope of male death ambiguously. Beth achieves mental resilience in addressing and unpacking these binaries and reactivates the Pine Block community beyond its alienation by propounding Maoriness beyond the alleged authenticity of former tradition.

The discursive lack of a sense of history time and belonging place is therefore an important dialogic feature for the novel to address: its polyphony in short- ranged broken-English vernacular therefore functions as a unidimensional atemporal human trap in the first half of the novel. And only certain males at that.

From certain families.

But soon her misgivings about Maori classism and male- chauvinism give way as the funeral ceremony carried out in te reo Maori cleanses her feelings of pain, guilt and anger. Pride in yourself, your poor selves. Not attacking, violent pride but heart pride.

Ta stop being lazy […] Ta stop feeling sorry for emselves. In coming to the ghetto and lecturing in English, Te Tupaea closes the linguistic, historical and geographical gap between rural and urban Maorihood primitivism and modernity, and cuts across traditional gender and class divisions. Oh, and Maori warrioress. He acknowledges this by making Beth a session leader, thus working towards an enabling transformation of Maoritanga for the slum dwellers.

This dawning of the Maori community ideal empowers the urban marae as their third space. Bearing in mind that Nig fares no better, the urban discourse on Maori manhood is generally shown as utterly crippling.

It is conditioned by the divergent methods of production and manner of consumption of each medium, both technically, socially and economically Giddings e. This divergence makes absolute fidelity impossible and feeds into a range of transfer types characterised by their respective distance to the source text, with which they establish a creative and discursive dialogue.

Hardback Editions

According to Klein and Parker, literal translations stay as close to the original as possible; re-interpretations or deconstructions retain the core of the source text; and entirely new works of art take the source text merely as a point of departure Giddings e.

Yet, this statement leaves room for conjecture: if the film was received as substantially different from the novel, should it be considered an analogy rather than a commentary?

Would this make for a different agenda? Novel and film… drinking and partying. Jake is the local uncrowned king, imposing his authority on friends, family, wife and children through sheer force and intimidation. Thus, Beth is always aware of, and articulate about, the wrongs of slum society, and rebellious and vociferous when it comes to Jake.

Tellingly, it is Jake who impersonates the fate of the slum dwellers: a tragic anti-hero unaware of his postcolonial deracination and enslavement to a crippling macho ethos of alcohol abuse and dumb violence, he is written off by his wife in the last scenes. The film therefore constructs a hybrid third space of gender empowerment, less concerned with race and class inscription. It is therefore paradoxical that Grace is the only one of the Hekes to die in the film, whereas Nig is saved for the restoration of the mother-centred nuclear family.

One finds Jake deploring his slave past in passing, and the slum as if it were any ghetto world-wide, with its unemployment, gang warfare, drug and alcohol abuse, bummed-out people and reggae and soul music. The overall result is that the film works more conventionally as a universal family drama whereas the novel takes a more complex commitment with Maori community regeneration in the face of urban modernity. Thus, it is worth having a look at a last major issue that runs through the novel and gives its politics considerable strength.

Once Were Warriors

The film preserves the very violence at the core of the novel, but discursively roots it in gender, thus giving way to a different narrative and agenda. Whether Jake does or does not commit the rape remains a matter of debate in the novel. It is important to stress, however, that conclusive evidence is never given.

Jake stubbornly denies being the perpetrator but cannot trust the gaps in his inebriated memory, and this insecurity together with his penchant for domestic violence destroys him.

After eighteen years, they live in a slum and have six children. Beth sometimes tries to reform herself and her family—for example, by giving up drinking and saving the money that she would have spent on alcohol. However, she finds it easy to lapse back into a pattern of drinking and irresponsibility.


The family is also shown to be disconnected from Western culture and ways of learning. Beth reflects that neither she nor anyone else she knows has any books at home, and her daughter, Grace, is the only character with a real interest in school and learning. This disconnection from books and education is a major concern of Duff's, for which reason he founded the charity Duffy Books in Homes , which gives free books to children from poor backgrounds and generally encourages reading.

Jake is unemployed and spends most of the day getting drunk at the local pub with his friends.

There he is in his element, downloading drinks, singing songs and savagely beating any other patron whom he considers to have stepped out of line hence his nickname 'The Muss'. He often invites huge crowds of friends back to his home for wild parties.

While Jake portrays himself as an easygoing man out for a good time, he has a vicious temper when drinking. This is highlighted when his wife dares to 'get lippy' at one of his parties and he savagely attacks her in front of their friends.

Nig, the Hekes' eldest son, moves out to join a street gang. He cares about his siblings but despises his father for his thoughtless brutality, a feeling returned by the elder Heke. Nig attempts to find a substitute family in the form of the gang, but this is unsuccessful as the gang members are either too brutal or, in the case of Nig's gang girlfriend, too beaten down to provide him with the love and support he craves.

The second son, Mark 'Boogie' Heke, has a history of minor criminal offenses and is taken from his family and placed in a borstal.This page was last edited on 7 March , at During the tangi funeral , Beth feels bitterly that women do not count for much in traditional Maori culture, remembering that, according to Maori etiquette, she does not have the right to speak during the funeral.

Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff

Readers are treated to the mind's musings before and after events, the distinctive imagery of people locked in a present they're trying to forget. However, Duff uses the figure of the ancient warrior as a deviance of modern times which, according to the narration of OWW, originates in the frustration of living in the housing estate of Pine Block.

This was a very difficult read for several reasons.