Call It Courage Questions and Answers
by Armstrong Sperry

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In Call It Courage, how did Mafatu feel about the sea in his new canoe?

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In Call It Courage, Mafatu had a great fear of the sea. The reason is because his mother was killed while out at sea. A hurricane destroyed his mother's boat, and she ultimately died. Mafatu witnessed this as a young child, and it served as a painful memory in his life.

A courageous Mafatu decides to build a canoe. He burns a tree and pulls it down. He is able to build a raft to use in the meantime before his canoe is complete. Once his canoe is complete, he takes it out to sea. As he drifts farther and farther away, he begins to feel lonely, isolated, and afraid in the desolation of the large surrounding sea and sky. He also worries about what others would think if they realize that he has disappeared. Everything around him seems intimidating and powerful.

His fear climaxes when a storm developed and approached. A big wave comes upon him and the canoe. He feels that he may die in the ocean all alone, but he survives, and the storm disappeares.

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