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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 156

In his retelling of an ancient Polynesian legend, Armstrong Sperry creates a timeless story, which in its fine depiction of the universal human emotions of love, fear, and courage remains relevant in today's world. Call It Courage is a romance in the traditional, mythic sense of the word. The hero, Mafatu, must prove his worth by leaving his family, setting forth on a quest, and undergoing a series of trials.

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On another level, Call It Courage is the quintessential survival story. Alone against the sea, the wind, and even cannibals, Mafatu struggles to survive. Not only must he prove his courage by fighting a shark and a wild boar, but he must tend to the daily tasks of finding food and shelter.

By surviving in the wilderness and triumphing over the violence of the sea and the lurking dangers of the island, Mafatu is transformed. He returns to his people confident in his newly earned adulthood.

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Characters