Nation Theme of Foreignness and the Other
The Others isn't just an awesome haunted-house movie. It's also a word people use to describe anything foreign, weird, or just different from cultural norms. Beowulf has Grendel (eating people: outside the norm). Western settlers had Native Americans (or, as they called them, "Indians"). Batman has Bane. Now, reverse everything we just said. Poor Grendel was just hungry and sick of all that annoying singing. Can you blame him? The Native Americans were defending their land from European explorers. And Bane, well, we have no idea what he's saying through that mask anyway. Nation—like Wide Sargasso Sea or Grendel—gives us the story of the Other. Through the perspectives of Mau the islander and Daphne the European, we see both sides of the story.
Questions About Foreignness and the Other
- How do you define savagery? Are there savages in Nation? If so, who are they?
- Why do the mutineers and the Raiders prefer to conquer and kill those they consider "the Other" instead of learning from them?
- How might Nation be different if viewed from the perspective of the mutineers? Or the Raiders?
- How do Daphne's and her grandmother's approaches to "the Other" differ from that of Mau and his people?
Chew on This
Everyone is an "other" to someone.
Nation portrays European explorers as almost universally bad, but without them, Mau's people wouldn't be able to continue their scientific explorations.