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Term paper on Pouliuli
Pouliuli, a novel written by Albert Wendt, Faleasa Osovae awakens to find the

life he's been living all along is a mere faÇade. Pouliuli invites readers into

the Samoan community of Malaelua, which is turned topsy-turvy when Faleasa

misleads his aiga and community by acting maniacal. Albert Wendt ties a famous

Malaelua saga about a mythological hero named Pili to Faleasa Osovae's life. In

the myth as well as in Faleasa's story, they both had the same goal, which was

to live the rest of their life "free". To accomplish this goal, they

both had to accomplish three tasks. Pilis' tasks were to eat a mountain of fish

which the giant's had caught that day, to race the giants down a river, and

make himself disappear. Faleasas' tasks were to destroy Filemoni, Make Moaula

the new leader, and remove Sau and Vaelupa as council leader. Of course they

couldn't have done these tasks alone so both of them enlisted help from

friends. Pili enlisted the help of Tausamitele, Lelemalosi, and Pouliuli.

Faleasa enlisted the help of his long time friend Laaumatua and his son Moaula.

Finally to get the freedom they so wished for they had to complete one last

task. In Pili's case it was to divide his kingdom among his children while

Faleasa had to remove Malaga as congress of the village. In the end, they both

end up with nothing. Both ending up in the darkness of Pouliuli. In both

scenarios there is a mirror image from Pili's saga to Faleasa's. In what way

are the characteristics of the three allies Pili enlist to help him with his

tasks similar to those of Faleasas' allies? How are the tasks in Pili's saga

similar to Faleasa's tasks? Why did Faleasa actually go with his plan when he

knew that the end result in Pili's story was tragic? We first

recognize the similarities between the mythological saga of Pili to Faleasa's

life as we are informed of the myth. In Pili's saga as well as in Faleasa's

story they create a plan that would attain the freedom they are seeking. Pili

wants to be restored into a human while Faleasa wants to live the remaining

years of his life free from the duties he had as a leader. ".If

you set me three tasks and I perform them successfully will you lift the curse

off me?" (96) In Pili's myth, Pili goes up to the Ninth Heaven to ask for

his father, Tagaloaalagi, to restore him into a human. Tagaloaalagi sets three

tasks for Pili to do. Pili does all the tasks with the help of Tausamitel and

Lelemalosi and gets his wish to be restored human. ".Faleasa had just

described to his lifelong friend his plan and his transformation from what he

called 'cannibal meat' into a 'free angel'." (16) Pili's saga is similar

to the story of Faleasa. Faleasa has created a plan that would relieve him of

the duties as a leader. Both scenarios have three tasks to complete with the

help from friends. Also as each tasks is completed the next one gets more

challenging. Pili and Faleasa also has to watch out that no one finds out that

they are being helped with friends. As each

tasks is completed the next task gets much tougher. Pili and Faleasa realize

that they can't complete these tasks alone so they enlist people that are

friends and close to them. I have

other allies, Pili replied. Because he had been forbidden to associate with

people he had befriended three spirits who lived near his home. They were

Tausamitele-Insatiable Appetite, Lelemalosi-Strong Flight, and

Pouliuli-Darkeness. It was with these friends that he devised his plans. (95) The allies

that Pili enlisted have characteristics that are similar to the allies that

Faleasa has enlisted. Lemigao

was always hungry, or so it seemed to Osovae. Everywhere they went Lemigao

searched for food before he did anything else.He never refused any offer of

food even if he had just eaten a large meal.(21) Laaumatua

is a mirror image of Tausamitele. Laaumatua and Tausamitele both have

unfulfilled appetite. They are continuously hungry and will always be willing

to eat even though they've just eaten. They also won't turn down any meal that

is given to them. Moaula is similar to Lelemalosi in the saga of Pili. Just

before evening lotu Faleasa saw Moaula arriving from the plantation with a

heavy load of taro. (He had always been amazed by his son's physical

strength.). .looking bigger still in falling gloom, he stretched his arms and

back and looked over at his father. (29) In Pili's

saga Lelemalosi is described as a person having strong flight. Lelemalosi is

similar to Moaula because to be a strong person a person must have physical

strength to be able to do things as carry a heavy load of taro into the village

or fly Pili and Tausamitele up to the Ninth Heaven. Tausamitele and Moaula help

Pili and Faleasa by helping to conceal what they were doing. Moaula by acting

as the new council leader and meeting each matai leader to describe what action

should be done at the next council meeting while Tausamitele helps Pili by

completing his second tasks which he had to "race the giants down a river

which was alive with treacherous rapids, whirlpools, and waterfalls." (96)

In the

end, Pili's saga as well as Faleasa's story comes up short in achieving their

goals. Faleasa was aware of the tragic end to Pili's saga and didn't do

anything to change the outcome. That same

night Pili vanished from Malaelua. Some Malaeluans claimed that he had jumped

up and been swallowed by his friend Pouliuli and would refuse to become visible

again. The story

does not tell us why Faleasa didn't do anything to change the outcome of his

plan so that it wouldn't end tragically as in Pili's saga. Faleasa examines

some of the meanings of the saga and concluded that .like Pili in his bitter

old age, he too had voluntarily jumped up, as it were, into a living death,

into the living darkness of Pouliuli. This conclusion did not frighten him: it

was consoling, like being suspended in the core of a timeless sea, without a

beginning or an end; and all was well. (97-98) Faleasa

believed that since Pili jumped into Pouliuli, Pili didn't loose most of his

vanity. He ended one life and then started a new one. Still, if Faleasa knew

the outcome of Pili's saga ended tragically why didn't he do anything to change

the outcome of his story? Could the reason why Faleasa didn't change the final

outcome of his plan be because he thought that myths were just myths and could

not be possibly true? Was he so sure that his plan would work that he didn't

realize that his plan was exactly like Pili's? Was he trying to shatter that

myth by proving that he could obtain the freedom he so desired? Those questions

will not likely be answered for only Faleasa knows the answer. In Wendt's

novel Pouliuli, he introduces us to a seventy-six years old man that creates a

plan that will allow him to attain freedom in the final years of his life.

Wendt also acquaints us about a Malaeluan saga of a lizard that takes on three

tasks to be converted into a human. They both enlist the help of friends that

have similar characteristics to carry out each task. Each of them are

successful but in the end comes up short and fail to achieve what they had set

out to do. In conclusion things could have gone smooth sailing for Faleasa if

he had noticed that Pili's saga were similar to what he was going through and

could have changed the outcome but instead followed the same steps as Pili into

the darkness of Pouliuli.
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Pouliuli. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 11 Oct, 2010 from