Written in 1986, Wild Pork and Watercress, by Barry Crump, is the story of Ricky Baker. Ricky is a 12 years and 3 weeks old, quarter Maori boy. Told in the first person narrative, Ricky tells his story with humor.
Ricky is a victim of racism and the New Zealand social welfare system. He continues to run away from authority, and tells us he is treated differently because of his dark skin.
We learn that Ricky is misunderstood, people are to quick to make assumptions about him. Ricky is actually is actually very clever, and a fast learner.
Ricky is finally sent to live with his aunt Bella and uncle Hec on a run-down farm by a river far inland from Gisborne. “The Faulkner’s’ farm was up a valley beside a river called Apopo, and everything about the place was old and falling to bits.” Aunt Bella is loving and accepting, she treats Ricky like her own son. Uncle Hec is a man of few words who can be grumpy. He can talk the talk but not walk the walk.
Chapter 1 The Wife’s Sister’s Boy
Crump uses idioms such as “shoving more in…” “keeping my head down…”
Colloquial language “the wrong sort of stuff…”
Informal, chatty language
simple sentences “the bloke was lying…”
Chapter 10 Okay
Crump uses Ricky Baker’s narrative point of view to give an authentic New Zealand voice to the story. He uses language features such as idioms, colloquial language, metaphors, contractions and chatty informal writing to create a New Zealand voice in the story. He also uses simple descriptive words so to make it sound like it was written by a kid. He uses idioms such as “we dropped off the Huiarau Ridge” and “giving ourselves up”. He uses contractions such as “going t’tell you” and “em”. In my opinion Wild pork and Watercress shows us how casual and informal our language is. It also shows the spirit of New Zealand by going into the bush.
- place names