Discuss theMeaning of Circles of Pebbles the Old Man Leaves for Families. WhenOsovae Disrupts the Circle of Pebbles, What Is He Doing? Why Does theOld Man React That Way? How Is the Circle of Pebbles Connected to?
is a novel written by Albert Wendt in which he tells thestory of Faleasa Osovae, a man who wakes up one day only for him torealize that the life he has been living is a mere façade. AlbertWendt tells the story of Faleasa in such a way that it runs parallelto that of a mythological hero known as Pili. This paper argues thatin Wendt utilizes the symbol of the circles of pebbles tosignify the Samoan-Pacific culture that was centered on the principleof the interrelatedness of everything and the conflict that ensuedwith the European invasion of the region.
The circles of pebbles the old man leaves for families in the novel act as a remedy for his mischievous conducts of stealingfrom the villagers. After arriving in the village, the old manstarts pilfering things from the stores and the Church. Everywhere hesteals, he makes sure that he leaves three circles of pebbles.According to the narrator, “The first three circles of pebblesappeared on the second morning of the old man’s stay” (Wendt,105). Faleasa discovers the petty thefts committed by the old man buttogether with the villagers, he does not seek to punish him. Instead,they choose to view the small items that he stole from them as smallpayments for his commitment to the community.
In the story, whenever Osovae removes the center pebbles, he isdestroying the Samoan culture. The house that is constructed in thecenter of the homestead was crucial in the Samoan-Pacific culturesince it is where the meetings were held. In the Samoan tradition,houses are built in circles to show that everything is interrelated.
However, whenever Falseasa throws away the center pebbles, the oldman becomes insane to signify that culture cannot be destroyed unlessthe people who believe in it are completely swept out of the earth.In , the circle of pebbles arranged by the old man is notperfect. This is as a result of the act of Faleasa of throwing awaythe center stone. In the novel, the old man teaches Faleasa how touse his insanity to his advantage. The old man says that thecommunity came believe that God was working through madness to curethe incurable and to reward those people who were kind to theunfortunate (Wendt 111). The author wanted to shows that when twocultures come into contact, the superior ones are known to destroythe smaller ones. However, in the Samoan-Pacific context, someaspects of the people’s culture were so strong to be eliminated.
The circles of pebbles represent the Samoan understanding of communalwholeness founded on alofa. Alofa is akin to the center of thecircle. On the other hand, is where the center of alofaresides. The European missionaries viewed as similar to adark pagan root that deserved to be uprooted. When the old manreaches Falseasa’s home, he omits the center pebble as a sign thata community that follows the leadership of the Falseasa’s father isdoomed to fail. In a dramatic scene, Faleasa takes the stones fromthe old man’s hand and throws them into the darkness. The presenceof circles of pebbles without the central stone depicts the author’spessimistic view of the future of the Samoan-Pacific culture. This isafter the culture is taken over by people who are corrupt,unscrupulous, and dishonest. An example of such people is Faleasa’sfather whose selfish needs and manipulative personality causes hisson to become insane.
In conclusion, is Albert Wendt’s most worldly known novel.It tells the story of the conflict that ensues as the Samoan-Pacificculture is subjected to the European invasion. The book isinteresting to read mainly because of the writer’s meticulouswriting styles. For instance, symbolism is one of the styles employedin the novel . The symbol of the circles of pebbles portraysthe Samoan-Pacific culture that was founded on the tenet of theinterrelatedness of everything.
Wendt, A.(1980). Wendt: (No.8). University of Hawaii Press.