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Big Brother, Little Sister - Witi Ihmaera's Distressing Short Story

Autor:   •  April 2, 2011  •  Essay  •  852 Words (4 Pages)  •  3,428 Views

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Big brother, little sister

An important character in Witi Ihmaera's distressing short story, Big Brother, Little Sister is Hema because he is a vessel for revealing key themes. He also is an influence on the readers and he makes critical decisions. Hema and Janey's mother is at a pub which ‘didn't close until ten' and Hema is once again left ‘home alone with his sister'. Hema decides to run away, Janey follows, so they set off to Nani George in Gisborne ‘a faraway land' at the ‘end of the rainbow'. Unfortunately they soon realise the streets are full of violence, ‘people were arguing on the pavement. Two snake-sheathed girls began to fight. A beer bottle smashed on the asphalt'. So they decide to return home because one day their ‘weak woman' mother ‘might need' them ‘again'.

Hema is important because he is a spokesperson for the key theme; children should not be parents. When things were tough Hema would be there for Janey and ‘as Janey crawled into his arms' he would not only protect her from getting harmed but protect her from ‘the helpless woman cry' and ‘sudden crack of dads open hand against mum's face' because he takes on the responsibilities of being the father-figure for Janey. Their wretched mother Wiki practically forced Hema to thinking that running away was the only choice he had by telling him ‘get some burger and chips', ‘go to bed now' ‘and take Janey with you'. Hema and Janey run away from home because they both have had enough of their mum's boyfriend and believe she would be happier without them, as Uncle Pera gave him a hiding and all Hema says to himself is ‘she let him'. Hema knew that his pathetic mother was too busy doing the ‘party circuit' with ‘her man' anyway. On the way to the train station they face many challenges where Hema instructs Janey to ‘stop right where' she is if she gets lost and he says ‘I'll find you', which illustrates how, because of his mother's bad parenting, Hema acts responsibly and courageously to protect his sister. When they find they can't get to where they want to go from the train station, Hema reassures Janey that he will never leave her ‘not now, not ever'. Hema's father-figure, loving behaviour leads Janey to hope that she will be as secure as Hema can make, despite knowing ‘there was


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