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The Journey- Patricia Grace (1980)

Character Analysis
Plot Summary
New Zealand
Native Land
Train & Train Station
Business Man’s Office
Old Man’s Home
Historical Context
Patricia Grace Biography
“Not a journey, not what you would really call a journey.” (p.320)
This quote foreshadows the novel, the old man isn't going on an
amazing journey. His journey he is going on a ‘journey’ to see the
progression of modernization on the land he has lived on his whole life.
“They’d rather stare at the weather on television and talk about a this
and a that coming over because there’s nothing else to believe in. “
This quote shows the difference between the natives and the pakehas,
the natives appreciate the land and cherish it. While the pakehas don’t
care anymore, they modernized, and technology has taken over.
And probably the whole life was like that, sitting in the dark watching
and waiting. Sometimes it happened and you came into the light, but
mostly it only happened in tunnels. Like now. (p.323)
This quote helps us see into the views of the Old Man, we see how he
is losing hope in change. The light is what the land used to be but now
they’re in a ‘tunnel’ and all there is now is destruction of the land and
all of this development is taking away all the nature, and technology
and new developments are going in.
“And then coming out of the second tunnel that’s when you really had
to hold your breath, that’s when you really had to hand it to the pakeha,
because there was a sight.” (p. 323)
This quotes shows the Old Man’s sarcasm towards the topic, everything
that is going on to the land bothers him and he disagrees with the acts
that take place. The pakehas made a ‘sight’ but to the Old Man it’s not
a sight he wanted to see.
“Yes, he knows this place like his own big toe…” (p.324)
This quote shows the love and care that the Ola Man has for his native
land. Throughout the changes going on he remembers the way it used
to be and the way he preferred it to be. The author used a simile to
compare the two to show just how familiar the Ola Man was with the
“Yes yes I want you to understand, that’s why I came. This here, it’s
only paper and you can change it. There’s room for all the things you’ve
got on your paper, and room for what we want too, we want only what
we’ve got already, it’s what we’ve been trying to say.”(p.326)
“It’s what we want, we want nothing more than what is ours already.”
(p. 327)
“…is to say put on what is left of what has been ours since before we
were born.” (p. 327)
All of these quotes show how the government and businesses just see
money and don’t care about who’s land they take. The government
treats the natives of New Zealand poorly and with inequality, they just
want to take their land because its fertile and better but it’s been theirs
from before they were born.
Old Man- 71 year old native Maori; very sarcastic, and grumpy; takes
a ‘journey’ or figuratively a description of life's journey in progress,
the land is progressing and modernized with technology of the
Young Fulla- the taxi driver the old man speaks with while in the taxi
Business Man- tries to buy the Old Man’s native land which ‘has been
his since birth.’
George - the Old Man's nephew he speaks about and speaks with in the
end of the story
Nieces and Nephews- have their homes taken by the government for
more development of the land
-DOB: August 17, 1937 in Wellington, New Zealand (Age 78)
-Maori Father
-Writes Maori novels, short stories, and children’s books
-Foundational figure in the development of Maori fiction
-Other short stories: The Dream Sleeper (1980) and The Sky People
Maori Fiction (Realistic Fiction)
Maori - the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand

 Generational differences
 Unwanted change and sacrifice
 Corruption

Point of View
-Whakairo(p. 323) -a Maori traditional art of carving in wood, stone,
or bone
-Pakehas(p. 323)– a white New Zealander, opposed to a Maori
-Whanaunga(p. 322) –relative; kin
-Tamatea(p. 322) - ‘moon’

 Why did the old man stare at his hands at the end of the story?

 Did the Old Man’s nieces and nephews ever get real homes?

 Do you think there were any laws protecting the natives land?

 Do you agree that the Old Man’s land really should have
belonged to him?

Figurative Devices
The purpose of this short story is to represent the lack of respect that
the government has for the Native Maoris in New Zealand.
Significant Quotes
The narrator's tone is negative and aggravated, which reflects the way
the protagonist feels about his situation.

 "How's the wife?

Still growing old man.

What about the kids?
Costing me money."

 "Coming up the steps on to the platform he could feel the quick

huffs of his breathing and that annoyed him, he wanted to swipe
at the huffs with his hand. Steam engines went out years ago."
 "A man feels like a screwball yelling through that little hole in the
glass and then trying to pick up the change that sourpuss has
scattered all over the place. Feels like giving sourpuss the finger,


 Family's property: Represents the Native's efforts to protect their

heritage and a lack of power over it.
 Strip of artificial land: Represents what the government has taken
away from the Maori and how they have glorified this to be
 Old man's garden: Represents the Maori's culture and admiration
of nature. The taxi driver, who belongs to a later generation,
admits to not having gardening skills like the old man does. This
symbolizes the loss of respect for the land through the

Characteristics of the genre

Author's Purpose
The story takes place in New Zealand during the 1980s. Immigration
flourished during this time and the country became very ethnically
diverse. By 2002, the native Maori only held about 14% of the country's
population. The amount of immigrants during this time was so high that
the government had to place laws and limits on who came into the
country. Many Maori people left and went to Australia, but soon limits
were placed on that as well because it caused economic damage to the
Australian government with too many people on welfare.
An elderly man from New Zealand sets out on a "journey" one day to
speak with an official about his land. It starts out with the old man
hailing a taxi and talking with the driver, whom he calls "young fulla",
about his life, children, and wife. He arrives at the train station 30
minutes early, and interacts with an unpleasant man in the ticket booth
and refers to him as "sourpuss". While on the train, he notes how times
have changed. He describes how the water where his generation used
to find "pipi", a small edible shelled animal, has been paved by the
government to make new space for railway cars. He explains how the
pakehas, which means foreign Europeans in Maori, deem this change
to be "spectacular", and how they can go through land as if it is
Later on the train ride, he points out the place where the pakehas
bulldozed a Maori burial ground, promising to "tastefully" place all of
the headstones back, even though they disregarded whoever was
beneath them.
After leaving the train, he speaks to a man about preserving his family's
land, which is scheduled to be subdivided by the government for off-
street parking. The man does nothing to help him except promise him
"equivalent" land elsewhere. The old man grows exasperated, kicks and
cracks the man's desk, and leaves.
He goes to drive home in the taxi, and he and the taxi driver talk about
their days, leaving out the information about the land. Once home,
elderly man instructs his family to have him cremated, not buried, one
he dies. He says that he doesn't want anyone to disturb the land he is
in, as the government does now.
Form, Language, and Structure
Discussion Questions
“Then the rain will come and the cuts will bleed for miles and the
valleys will drown in blood, but the pakehas will find a way of mopping
it up no problem.” p.323
Throughout the story, there are various blocks of dialogue between the
old man and different people that he encounters during his "journey."
The speaking is not indicated by quotation marks; rather it is up to the
reader to determine where there are conversations.
Depending on the character with whom the man is speaking, different
things are represented. When he speaks to the vendor in the ticket
booth, the reader is shown how resentful the man feels towards the
younger generation and their way of acting. However, when he speaks
with George, who holds an admiration and respect for nature that the
rest of his generation is lacking, he is much more kind and patient. This
shows the side of his personality that is masked to the rest of the world
by his aggravation towards the government and pakehas.
Form & Structure
-Short and multiple paragraphs
-Very detailed
-Dialogue not separated
-Compare and Contrast
-Names stay anonymous
Journey- Patricia Grace (1980)
The point of view of this story is third person because the narrator
delivers the thoughts and feelings of only the protagonist using the
pronoun he to describe the old man instead of I. We, as readers, are
only given the opinions of one character, until we read the dialogue.
When the Old Man speaks to people it switches to first person, we then
see how attached the old man is to tradition.