Call It Courage Questions and Answers
by Armstrong Sperry

Start Your Free Trial

What did Tavana Nui announce to his people in "Call It Courage"?

Expert Answers info

dymatsuoka eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write3,287 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Math

Tavana Nui announced to his people,

"Here is my son come home from the sea.  Mafatu, Stout Heart.  A brave name for a brave boy!"

Because of a traumatic experience with the sea when he was very young, Mafatu had always been afraid of the water.  This was an especially grave shortcoming among the island people, who made their livelihood as warriors and fishermen on the sea.  Throughout his childhood, Mafatu had to deal with taunts from friends and villagers, the self-loathing of his own weakness, and the knowledge that, deep down, his father, the leader of the tribe, was ashamed of him.

Finally, Mafatu could take it no more, and, with his little dog Uri as his only companion, set out to sea alone to face his demons.  On his quest, he had to conquer the elements of nature, escape cannibals, face sharks and a wild boar, and survive on a remote island on his own.  Finally, at the end of his travails, he returned home, "a brave figure, so thin and straight, with (a) fine necklace (of hard-won boars' teeth) and a flashing spear", emaciated and exhausted, but with unmistakable "courage blazing from his eyes".  The Great Chief Tavana Nui, at first mistaking Mafatu for a stranger, was "transformed with joy" when he recognized his son.  He turned to his people and made his proud pronouncement, and bestowed upon Mafatu the affirmation he had struggled so hard to achieve ("Homeward").



check Approved by eNotes Editorial