Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Logic (or Lack Thereof) in Kisses in the Nederends

                In Kisses in the Nederends, Epeli Hau’ofa depicts the bizarre mechanisms of human behavior and logic in a comedic light through his cast of eccentric characters. One example of the twisted logic Hau’ofa presents the reader is Oilei’s preference of dottores over the hospital because he detests the idea of nurses looking at his anus, but he allows dottores of all kinds to examine him, and they spread word of his affliction as surely as any nurse would. Eventually, Oilei’s problem is common knowledge across the country, but he still refuses to seek medical attention at a hospital. The dottores themselves entertain similarly flawed logic – they all come up with completely unfounded explanations for Oilei’s ailment. Marama explains her theory of “lecturer fart,” Losana claims that a wayward demon causes the distress, and Seru concocts the extremely convoluted notion of warring tuktuks wreaking havoc on the body (11, 34, 86). None of these theories are founded in science or sense, but the dottores express them with such certainty that Oilei readily accepts them. By following the advice of these dottores and favoring their traditional treatments over professional assistance, Oilei renders the necessary surgery completely impossible. Oilei is too easily convinced by others, regardless of how poorly formulated their arguments are. For instance, Babu’s simple proposal that all parts of the body are equal quickly dissolves into madness as he suggests that by kissing each other’s anuses, world leaders will achieve “eternal peace” (104). Babu persuades Oilei to accept this notion by “kissing his ass,” which raises the point that those with questionable logic convince others of their causes by ingratiating themselves with them. Throughout the novel, characters make ridiculous mistakes and poor decisions based entirely on ill-conceived rationale, and blindly follow others without considering matters for themselves. This is evident even in the tourists which populate the background of the story – they gladly pay money to experience Amini’s turtle shell con, and deceive themselves into thinking it successful (51). The entire novel is a testament to people’s naivety, particularly concerning matters of which they know very little.

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