What is Mafatu's opinion on the sacrifice made by the eaters-of-men in Call It Courage?

Quick answer:

Mafatu is repulsed and frightened by the sacrifices of the eaters-of-men. He's worried that he will be their next victim. In due course, however, he will show courage by taking a spear from one of their sacred places.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the many challenges that Mafatu has to face on his epic journey is a race of cannibals he calls the eaters-of-men. They live on terrible dark islands where they perform their grotesque rituals, making sacrifices to the Varua Ino, the Devil himself.

Mafatu understandably doesn't want to be their next victim, and he is genuinely terrified at the prospect. Even so, he develops enough courage to steal a spear, a perfect weapon for hunting food and defending oneself against attack, from the marae, a sacred place for the eaters-of-men.

Even though he knows full well that a horde of angry cannibals could leap out at him from the forest at any moment, Mafatu still takes the spear and, in doing so, inadvertently dislodges a bone from the towering idol that stands in their sacred place.

Mafatu runs away as fast as his legs will carry him. He's done a very brave thing, but it would be foolhardy and not brave for him to stay where he is. He may now have a spear, but that wouldn't be enough to defend himself against an irate horde of cannibals angry at someone stealing from them and vandalizing their idol. The last thing he wants is to be their next sacrificial victim. So the young lad shows a clean pair of heels and hurriedly scrambles back up the path from whence he came.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial