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Mafatu is the protagonist and primary character in Call it Courage, by Armstrong Perry. Mafatu lives on Hikeuru Island but is afraid of the sea because he saw his mother drown; this causes him to be mocked and ridiculed by his people, particularly since he is the chief’s son. One night Mafatu escapes the island in a dugout canoe. He has no idea where this journey will take him, but in time he returns home a changed young man for having conquered his fears. He can now say, “I no longer fear you, sea.”
The minor characters in the story are his mother, who died while saving Mafatu’s life in a canoe during a hurricane, and his father, Tavana Nui. As chief of his tribe, Tavana Nui grew “silently grim” at the talk in his village over Mafatu’s fear of the water; however, he is proud of his son when he returns home (though he does not even recognize him at first).
Moana is not a real figure in this story but an entity, the sea god Mafatu hates because he is convinced Moana resents the fact that Mafatu escaped the sea god’s clutches as a boy/ Maui is the god of the fisherman, and Mafatu believes this god is his only protection from Moana’s wrath. The only other significant minor characters are Mafatu’s yellow dog, Uri, and an albatross named Kivi. Mafatu also encounters cannibals and wild enemies, such as a shark and a wild boar.
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