Kakuktak And Sarkak In John Steinbeck's The White Dawn

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The White Dawn follows the lives of three whalers, who are stranded and then saved by the native Inuit. The sailors Pilee, Portagee, and Kakuktak, each have their own way of fitting in and connecting with the people. They have to deal with people whom they cannot talk to, and who share different customs. It can be argued that Kakuktak is the most successful in his quest to integrate himself within the tribe. Pilee and Portagee are arguable much closer to each other, than they are to Kakuktak. Pilee had a poor relationship with the Inuit people from the beginning. When Sarkak shares fish eggs with the three whalers, Pilee doesn’t eat his share, tosses it on the ground, and fails to accept the raw meat.(47) This is an impolite gesture and the…show more content…
He is the only sailor who attempts to learn the Inuit language, which allows him to communicate with the men and his future wife, unlike Pilee and Portagee. His relations were strong from the beginning, when Sarkak is dining with the strangers. Kakuktak is the only one to successfully eat the raw fish, by mimicking Sarkak, which pleases Sarkak(47) and makes him believe that “Kakuktak might become one of us[Inuit.]”(47) Kakuktak is the first to go hunting, and he is quite successful at catching birds for the tribe. Kakuktak is increasingly isolated from his friends, and taken under by Sarkak, as a son. He is instructed on how to hunt, use a bow, and live within the Inuit society. Infact he is noted for “indeed [being] material for a son”(90) Kakuktak becomes friends with Kangiak, who he helps packing up the tribes belongings, which earns him more respect than his counterparts. Kakuktak is the only one of the whalers to receive a wife within the tribe, which shows how well he has integrated himself. While describing Kakuktak, Avinga says “he was like ourselves.”(106) He shares his idea of home with Neevee, and she adores him so much that she pledges “When the time comes, I will not be afraid to go with him.”(212) To defend Kakuktak, the only major instances where he is disrespectful to the Inuit people, are cooking fish and walrus and drinking. All three of these events are instigated by Pilee, and then supported by Portagee. The Inuit ae never offended by Kakuktak alone. When the strangers are shunned by the group, Kangiak and Avinga stay with them. Avinga calls Kakuktak his brother.(240) This emphasizes that Kakuktak has the loyalty of two friends and , that he holds the last bond the whalers have to this tribe. When the tribe kills Portagee and Pilee, Kakuktak is defended by Kangiak, who calls him his brother.(256) The Inuit agree and state that “he’s better than the other two.”(256) This is
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