Why did Mafatu feel that Moana, the Sea God, had been cheated once again?
The name Mafatu means "stout heart." Unfortunately for the young lad, this turns out to be something of a misnomer. Early in his life, Mafatu gains the reputation of being a bit of a scaredy-cat. The girls laugh at him; the boys refuse to let him play with them. The older folk are more sympathetic to Mafatu's plight; they believe that his timidity is the fault of Tupaupau, the spirit that possesses every child at birth.
But overall, Mafatu's reputation of physical cowardice is hard to shake and makes him the object of contempt and derision rather than pity. His stepmother and stepbrothers treat him with open scorn. They interpret the sound of crashing waves, thundering against the reef, as a sign of the sea-god Moana's anger at Mafatu's being afraid.
Mafatu earned his unwanted reputation after showing fear when a huge hurricane descended on the island. He was out with his mother collecting coral one day, and after the storm broke, their canoe capsized, sweeping them headlong into the stormy sea. Somehow Mafatu survived—although his mother tragically drowned—but in surviving this terrifying ordeal, Mafatu cheated Moana, who tried so hard to claim him. That's why Mafatu is convinced that the sea-god wants revenge and will try to get him again. It's the voice of the vengeful sea-god that he hears in the sound of each crashing wave as it breaks upon the shore.
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