Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (39.6 MB)

Kicking Round Home: Atonality in the Bone People

Download (39.6 MB)
posted on 2021-11-10, 21:12 authored by Kennedy, Anne

This thesis considers the role that musical atonality plays in Keri Hulme's the bone people, and explores the ways in which an atonal reading can suggest interpretations for the novel 's cultural location. From a survey of the interdisciplinary study of music-inliterature as a method, three criteria for analysing music in the bone people are identified - narratology, symbology and sound-interpretation. The thesis traces the sometimes-intersecting histories of both Maori and Pakeha music. It considers how instances of atonality in the bone people relocate Maori singing, in function and to some extent in form, to the page. A survey of critical readings shows how the bone people has often been assigned intentions of biculturalism. This thesis challenges that notion and asserts that Hulme transforms cultural ingredients of both Maori and Pakeha in an atonal space, and re-imagines them in a Maori framework.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


Wevers, Lydia