People Of The Whale: Thomas And His Connection With The Sea English Essay

816 words - 4 pages

Hunter Low 1
EN 251A- Literature of the Sea
Professor Lane
15 Apr. 2019
Reincarnation Brings a New Life
Mother Nature can truly do some amazing things to people, she can do some pretty cool things such as cause destruction or bring life and color to our world. We can try and run from her powers, but she will always be able to effect us in some sort of way. Societies develop strong connections and traditions that go along with the powers of Mother Nature. The A’atsika people in Linda Hogan’s People of the Whale develop a relationship with the sea as they find spiritual affects from it. The protagonist, Thomas Just, is most strongly developed as a character through the sea and his previous experiences in life. Thomas is developed as a character by the hunting of the whale, building a wall to block the sea and memories from him and finally being reincarnated through his death at sea.
Thomas suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome from the experiences while serving in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Thomas killed his entire platoon in order to stop them from pillaging and massacring a village full of women and children. The experiences and skills that Thomas brought back from war to his village would go on to negatively affect him. During the whale hunt, Thomas’s son Marco told him that it was “the wrong whale to kill,” but that didn’t stop Thomas from ultimately shooting and killing the whale (Hogan, 93). After he shot the whale he second guessed himself as to why he shot the whale and went against Marco’s opinions. Thomas then went on to say that the feeling of the weapon was so familiar to him, it was a “habit” to him to shoot because of his experiences at war (93). He fired “against his will” which he thought was caused by “habit, fear, adrenaline. Maybe even memory” (111). Even
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though Thomas knew it was the wrong whale to kill, his memories and experiences that he had while in the military sparked him to shoot and kill. As Thomas attempts to rebuild his spiritual connection with the sea, the impacts that war has on him demonstrates that as a character he is not ready to reconnect with the sea.
Unable to escape from his memories and the sea, Thomas builds a wall around his grandfather’s house....

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