The short story “Joy Ride” by Toni Pivac explores the theme of loss of innocence. The theme is illustrated through Whata, who loses his innocence after a journey that ends with him realizing that his father has died.
The story’s title is misleading, as it suggests that Whata is going for a joyride in his uncle’s car. However, the journey turns into a coming of age experience, which scares Whata and makes him regret his decision to hide in the car:
Whata lay back down, his heart thumping fast, like a baby bird's. He could hear it in his ears, and it felt like it was going to pop out of his chest. Oh man, I'm in trouble, he thought to himself. Hemi was right: Mum will be pissed. He could hear more traffic now, and his panic heightened. (ll. 71-74)
This is the moment when Whata real...