“The Pohutukawa Tree” Short Summary

In Bruce Masons “ The Pohutukawa Tree” a main theme of conflict is expressed throughout the play. He shows this through the way he presents his characters, externally by the actions they take, how they present themselves with the environment and those surrounding them and also internally with the use of there dialogue or thoughts. Mason creates conflict between his characters by enforcing the idea of “Generation gap” which is a strong idea with the characters of Aroha and Johnny.

This is shown to us externally through the relationship both characters have with the Taiaha. To Aroha this object is sacred; her actions show she cares a great lot about this item “ I gave him this. I offered it to him as the sign of peace between Maori and Pakeha” the Taiaha represents not only herself from within but also as she believes all people it is an object that unites all (Maori and Pakeha).

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Where as when it comes to Johnny he looks at the Taiaha in a different way, rather then like his mother look upon it as something holey/sacred to be held with great triumph and pride. He plays around with it carelessly “ He goes over to the fireplace and takes the Taiaha, puts it between his legs and gallops round the room” this shows not only his level of immaturity but also the fact he doesn’t respect the history behind the Taiaha. With the use of external conflict in the text, it shows us the different individual views of people at different ages.

Mason shows us the bigger picture by providing snippets of actions that each character takes, by describing in detail actions one took towards the Taiaha the idea of “generation gap” and also a background on the characters personality was shared to the audience. By using internal conflict, Mason was able to portray not only the conflict between Maori and Pakeha in a higher light, but also play on the relationships she has with her own children. With the use of dialogue in the text Mr Sedgwick admits to Aroha he is ashamed of his race “ You make me shamed, ashamed of my race.

Scouring the world for land and money” here we are given a taste of why there is conflict between Aroha and her people. “No tree is cut, no stone disturbed. It is a holy place” tells the audience the passion and history behind what Aroha is feeling, this emphasizes the conflict that is held between the Maori and Pakeha both characters share there own individual view internally on how they feel towards the matter.

When Sedgwick brings up Aroha’s children, the audience is shown a conflict arising “but your children do they share these feelings? Sedgwick takes not how Aroha only speaks passionately about her own feelings towards the land, she then goes to mention using personal pronouns such as “I” and “my” – “Because I keep alive in them the traditions of my race” to show how her children really have no say in the matter. By this conflict being portrayed in this matter we get a background story to why Aroha has mainly cold relationships with those around her. Because she is unable to see anyone else’s view but her own, she insists her children understand and see the world as she does.

In conclusion the internal and external play a big role in the text as they help the audience view the characters in not only a stronger light but also a clearer one. Characters background such as Aroha’s are shown to the audience so we can see why and how she lives and views life as as she does. But also with actions of characters being described to us as well such as Johnny’s we can see the reasons behind the conflict that plays a huge part in his relationship with his mother. Keely Rickards

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“The Pohutukawa Tree” Short Summary. (2016, Dec 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-pohutukawa-tree/