FINDING BRIAN SPEER (Illustration) Ethics Fiction American History Geography Social Studies Sports Film

This aerial view depicts Diamond Head on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Near Waikiki, this tuff cone formed many thousands of years ago by an active volcano. In The Descendants, the fictional Brian Speer lives in a neighborhood near Diamond Head. Photo by ProveIt, online via Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Click on the image for a great view.


We begin our virtual journey on the island of Oahu, where Matt King and his family live.  From their home - in the Maunawili area of the island - they can see the Ko'olau Range. 

With its beautiful waterfalls, and magnificent rainbows, that Range is more volcanic-remnant than mountain-stunning.  It is what remains of a really ancient volcano which collapsed on itself eons ago. 

Ancient asphalt paths - used by today's hikers - are also nearby.  One leads to the Maunawili Falls.

Looking for Brian Speer, Matt and his daughters - together with Sid, a friend of Alex - leave their side of the valley for the Diamond Head area of Oahu, near Kapiolani Park.  They find Brian Speer's house, but he's not home.

Matt learns that Speer is on the island of Kauai, so he books a flight for himself and the kids to that destination.  Some of Matt's land holdings are on Kauai, so he knows the island well.  He makes a reservation at one of the most beautiful resorts in the world - the Princeville, near Hanalei - located on Kauai's northern shore

If Matt were a golfer, and he didn't have a preexisting mission to occupy his attention, he could have played a few rounds on a golf course with incomparable views of Hanalei Bay.  Making the Makai Course even more spectacular, the 7th Hole is played over the ocean.

Enjoying the beauty of Kauai - and exploring places like the Kilauea Lighthouse, Anahola Beach, the Secret Falls, the Queen's Bath, the rugged coast lines and local churches - is not the purpose of the King family's trip.  They have to find Brian Speer, to give him the bad news about Elizabeth ("Joanie"). 

Traveling to their Kauai destination - via the King's Trail, among other roads - the King family (and Sid) settle into their Princeville resort rooms.

While running on the Hanalei beach one morning, Matt sees him.  Not sure what to do next, he watches Speer finish his own run and walk to the cottage where he and his family are staying.

With his mission accomplished - locating Speer and delivering the news about King's dying wife - Matt and the children return to Oahu.  It's an important day. Matt and his cousins are meeting, in Honolulu, where everyone is waiting to hear his decision:  Which buyer gets to purchase the land their royal ancestors entrusted to them?

Thinking about what he should do, Matt reflects on the very different parts of his heritage.  On one side, he is descended from American missionaries who came to the island to help the locals.  They told native Hawaiians to wear clothes, work hard and stop hula dancing.

The other side of Matt’s ancestry - the royal Hawaiian part - bestowed on him (and his cousins) the gift of land ownership.  Wealthy because of that bequest, Matt's current relatives wear few clothes (mostly running shorts and T-shirts), rarely work (if at all) and enjoy dancing (including the hula). 

Marveling at the irony of his family’s present situation, Matt considers how to best honor the gift they were given and, especially, the people who had bestowed it on him.

Everything started with King Kamehameha and his descendants.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2011

Updated Last Revision: Apr 23, 2015

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"FINDING BRIAN SPEER" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2011. Jan 19, 2020.
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