Moloka'i Themes

Alan Brennert
This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Moloka'i.
This section contains 776 words
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Family

The novel presents a concept of family that is different from the traditional definition of family being those people related by birth. In this novel the concept of family, called 'ohana by some characters, extends to those people who fulfill the functions of a family member. The practice of forcibly relocating people with leprosy strained the ties of family and earned leprosy the names "the separating sickness" and "the sickness that tears families apart." Faced with feelings of abandonment and isolation, many people reach out and form new groups, which offer mutual support. These groups provide the feelings of security and belonging that a traditional family would provide.

The first instance of an adopted family occurs when Haleola asks Rachel if she can be her adopted aunt. Haleola does this because she knows Rachel needs family, especially after the death of her Uncle Pono, the only relative she...

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This section contains 776 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Moloka'i Study Guide
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