The climax of Moana has one of my favorite twists in recent memory. For most of the story, we have been told that in order to restore Te Fiti, Moana and Maui will have to avoid and/or defeat Te Ka. However, while Maui distracts the fiery demon, Moana scrambles up a rocky slope and realizes the space where Te Fiti should be is empty. And that’s when Moana puts the pieces together and realizes that Te Ka IS Te Fiti, this is what happens when her Heart is taken from her. Moana knows what she has to do now, and in a beautiful scene commands the ocean to make a dry path so that Te Ka can come directly to her. As the enraged demon claws her way through the sand, Moana sings her realizations:
(Ou mata e matagi)
I have crossed the horizon to find you
(Ou loto mamaina toa)
I know your name
They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you
This is not who you are
You know who you are
I take particular notice of the line “They have stolen the heart from inside you/But this does not define you.” A lot of people have interpreted the Te Ka/Te Fiti dichotomy to be an analogy for rape. While Maui can claim all he wants that he was trying to help humans, the fact remains that he forcibly took Te Fiti’s heart away from her, scarring her and filling her with rage. It’s easy to let the bad things that happened to you define your identity, but Moana’s song assures the goddess that it doesn’t have to be this way. Deep down, she is still Te Fiti, despite the pain she is in. The goddess clearly hears Moana’s message, because as she comes face to face with this mortal who holds her Heart, Te Ka slowly cools and is practically stone when Moana places the Heart back where it belongs.
What do you think of the song “Know Who You Are”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!
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