Joy Ride

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Joy Ride” (2013) by Tony Pivac. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.

Tony Pivac is a Maori writer from New Zealand. The short story “Joy Ride” was published in 2013 in the collection Huia Short Stories 10: Contemporary Maori Fiction.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 


Most of the similes used in the story highlight Whata’s childlike innocence. For example, the simile “he ruffled his little brother’s hair until it stuck out like a kina” (l. 11) suggests a childlike, messy appearance. Then, when Whata realizes that his uncle is driving on the motorway, his heart is “thumping fast, like a baby bird’s” (l. 71). This simile suggests that he is scared and vulnerable. 

Whata looks at the street lights, which he describes as “lining the way like soldiers” (l. 92). This reminds him of his father, who is away in Afghanistan, fighting “bad guys” (l. 95). The sheep on the hills, which “looked like sesame seeds” (l. 109) also remind Whata of the time spent with his father. The simile is meant to show that the sheep appear as small white dots in the distance.

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Joy Ride

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