Date of Award:

5-1997

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Kate Begnal

Abstract

Wendt's accomplishments as an artist of Polynesia and positions he held at different universities are presented in Chapter I. This marks the significant contributions he has made in different genres in which he has written, like novels, short stories, and poetry, that make him a major influence in the Pacific.

Chapter II analyzes the theoretical framework within the fa'a-Samoa in which a matai (chief) is presented, a revered office filled by respectable individuals. To make this point clear, I present the theoretical groundwork in Appendix A of how an individual becomes a matai.

Chapter III explores how Faleasa Osovae, the protagonist of Pouliuli, mirrors Mersault of The Stranger. This points out Camus's influence on Wendt.

Chapter IV investigates similarities of behaviors found among Faleasa Osovae, Mersault, and Bazarov of Turgenev's Father's and Sons. It connects Wendt and Camus to nihilism. This philosophical orientation, however, is toned down when a historical figure, Tupua Tamasese, III (Appendix B), is presented in contrast to remind readers about the historical role of a matai in the fa'a-Samoa. Chapter V explores the cognition theory that looks into behaviors of protagonists. Chapter VI is a discussion of the irony of Faleasa Osovae's behavior.

Though I offer some explanation for Faleasa's behavior when I draw parallels between him and Mersault of The Stranger and Bazarov of Father's and Sons, which almost gives him justification for behaving like King Lear, it would be improper in Samoan thought to consider Faleasa a cultural artifact of the fa'a-Samoa.

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