Call It Courage Questions and Answers
by Armstrong Sperry

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In Armstrong Sperry’s novel Call It Courage, what void does Mafatu feel?

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Mafatu feels that he hasn't proved himself as a warrior. He hates the fact that he's gained a reputation among his people as timid and lacking in courage. It's no consolation to Mafatu that he has every reason to feel this way after he witnessed the death of his mother after their canoe capsized in a violent storm. Such a traumatizing experience would make all but the hardiest souls afraid of the sea and its destructive power.

But in Mafatu's culture, none of that counts for anything. Young men are supposed to overcome their fears, to prove that they have what it takes to be brave, strong warriors, capable of standing up to whatever the gods can throw at them. That's why it's so important for Mafatu to embark upon his journey. This won't just be a literal journey; in metaphorical terms it'll be a voyage of discovery in which Mafatu will strive to fill the gaping void at the heart of his very existence.

Ever since that terrible day when he lost his mother, Mafatu has had unfinished business; he was defeated by Moana once, but now he must stand up to the mighty sea god and, in doing so, prove his manhood.

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