Choose two (2) characters, (one each) from any two plays you have read and appreciated and show how they resemble and differ in terms of life experience. (Necta 2010 Private candidates)
Characters refer to those people or objects portrayed in a work of art by the writer for the sake of representing message to the particular society. The term play on the other hand refers to one of the three genres of written literature, a kind of dramatic work written to be performed by actors on the stage, television, or radio, the other two genres of written literature include novels and poetry. The term resembles means to be similar to somebody or something in appearance or behavior while the word differs means the fact of being dissimilar or unlike.
As far as this question is concerned, the two female characters of my choice are Wanjiro from the play “This time tomorrow” by Ngugi Wathiong’o and Juliette from the play “Three Suitor’s one Husband” by Oyono Mbia. The following is how these two female characters resemble.
Both have self-awareness. The term awareness can simply be defined to mean that state in which a person tends to have knowledge of something including both its advantages and disadvantages from having observed it or been told about it. Wanjiro from the play “This time tomorrow” is shown to have self-awareness on the importance of education in life. Wanjiro was a little bit envious (jealous) of her brother’s education due to the fact that he has been sent to school while she was not. Her complaint towards her brother’s education shows that she has self-awareness that education is very much important in life. On the other hand, Juliette from the play “Three Suitors one Husband” is also shown having self-awareness that women and girls should be asked their opinions on the matters affecting them particularly the question of marriage, apart from that one, Juliette is also aware that money does not prove love that is why she refuses to marry either Ndi or Mbia instead, she decides to marry Oko who is a mere school boy having no money.
Both Wanjiro and Juliette fight for their true love. The term love refers to that an intense feeling of deep affection. In the play “This time tomorrow”, Wanjiro is shown fighting for her true love towards her boyfriend Asinjo whom she loves so much. Wanjiro is shown to have true love to Asinjo despite all the impossible conditions such as tribalism put forward by her mother Njango not to have love relationship with Asinjo but this girl (Wanjiro) determined to fight and finally succeeds to go away with Asinjo and live with him in the city. Similarly, Juliette from “Three suitors one husband” is shown fighting for her true love towards Oko whom she loves so much. Despite all the pressures from her parents to marry the civil servant Mbia and the other suitors, Juliette is determined to fight for her true love to the point of stealing the bride-price offered by the suitors and gives it to Oko that he could use it to marry her. At the end, Juliette succeeds to marry Oko, the husband of her own choice.
Both wanjiro and Juliette come from poor families. A poor family is the one whose members lack sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal. Wanjiro from “This time tomorrow” is shown to come from the family of a Kenyan freedom fighter which lives a poor life at Uhuru Market with her mother. They live in slums and shelter in which they dwell is made of cardboard and rotting tin. As that is not enough, Wanjiro and her mother, Njango share the floor as a bed. On the other hand, Juliette from “Three Suitors One Husband” is shown to come from the peasant family which is indeed very poor. Poverty within Juliette’s family can be proved from the fact they force her to marry the civil servant Mbia because they have high expectation that they will be rich after that. They consider marriage as business that is why they want Mbia to give them a lot of things such as of cola nuts, a brand new motor cycle, iron bed, cotton mattress, cupboard, a sewing machine, four oxen, fifteen sheep, ten goats and twenty pigs when it is time to have this marriage to Juliette registered.
After having discussed the resembles of the two characters, lets us now to the second part of the question which demands the difference between these two characters. The following is how these two characters differ in terms of life experience in terms of education. The term education refers to the knowledge acquired or imparted through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution. Juliette from the play (Three suitors’ one husband) is shown to be the character that is educated, she acquires her formal education introduced by the French in Cameroon at Libamba secondary school, on the other hand, Wanjiro from the book (This time tomorrow) is represented as a character who has not got a chance to get formal education that is one of the reasons why she used to quarrel with her mother who has deliberately sent Wanjiro’s brother to the uncle in town so that he might attend school.
Difference in terms of marital status. Marital status refers to fact of somebody’s being married or unmarried. This is also another criterion which makes these characters differ in terms of life experience. Juliette from the play “Three suitors one husband” is shown at the end of the play being married to Oko as a result of stealing the bride-price offered by the two suitorsNdi and Mbia who formally wanted to marry her. Despite all the impossible conditions and pressures put forward by her relatives to marry the civil servant (Mbia). On the other hand Wanjiro from the play “This time tomorrow” differs from Juliette in a sense that she is not married just like Juliette instead she used to cohabit, meaning that living together and have a sexual relationship with Asinjo without being married. Therefore Juliette is a wife of Oko while Wanjiro is a cohabitant of Asinjo; hence the two have different marital status.
Difference in terms of African culture. The term African culture simply means the beliefs, customs, practice and social behavior of a particular nation or people. There is a big difference between Juliette and Wanjiro in terms of the altitude towards the African culture, for example, despite Juliette to be educated she is portrayed that the formal education has not completely distanced her from her culture. Juliette supports good aspects of African culture and is against the bad aspects ones. For example, one of the traditions found in the Bulu tribe of Mvoutessi village is that when someone of the tribe has lived out of the village for a long time, he/she must embrace the members the day of his or her arrival into the village. In the book, Juliette is shown embracing the members of her tribe when she arrives into the village from her school, this shows that she keeps the African culture and tradition of her tribe.
On the other hand, Wanjiro from the play “This time tomorrow” is shown to be affected y the influence of western culture to the point of ignoring the African culture. Wanjiro admires to live like a European lady. She wants frock and shoes high-heels so that she can work like a European lady, a bag hanging from her left elbow-fingering a cigarette in her right hand. All of this shows that Wanjiro has a low opinion of her African culture.
All in all, it can be generally concluded that the two characters Wanjiro and Juliette resemble in terms of self-awareness, having true love and both came from poor families. However, on the other hand despite their resembles, the two differ to a greater extent in terms of education, marital status as well as in terms of African culture. This has been clearly clarified with the reference of two plays namely “This time tomorrow” and “Three Suitors one husband” by Ngugi Wathiong’o and Oyono Mbia respectively.
“Women play social obligations in a society though others do not honor their deeds”. Verify this statement using two prescribed plays. (four points each)
In our society women play social obligations though others do not honor their deeds by using the plays THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND and THIS TIME TOMMOROW written by GUILLAUME OYONO MBIA and NGUGI WATHIONG’O respectively this statement is verified as follows:
Starting with the play THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND, different social obligations played by women in the society are as follows;
Women fight against forced marriage. Forced marriage refers to the situation whereby someone is forced to marry someone without his/her concern. In this play, the playwright reveals that Atangana forces his daughter Juliette to marry Mbia out of her will. As a result Juliette refuses to marry a man whom she does not love. Juliette’s family do not like the act made by their daughter of denying their set plans of being married to Mbia who is regarded as a civil servant. In our societies the act of forced marriage is very much common. This is because girls are not given chance to make recommendations on their choice instead it is only parents who decide on their shoulder (behalf). As a result such a girl tends to deny the order set by the parents leading to an everlasting conflict among the two groups because their parents do not honor such behavior. Forced marriage can lead to conflicts in the family among the couples (wife and husband) because being married through force it is likely that the couples lack mutual love in their house and therefore parents should give room to their children to make decision when it comes on issues of marriage.
Women as an educated person. The playwright reveals that Juliette is educated at Libamba Secondary School despite the opposition imposed by her people. As a result the education she has acquired changes her village by discouraging the rooted practice of not allowing a woman to make decision on her own affairs. This is shown on the way she (Juliette) succeeds to marry Oko her only lover. In our society, many women hold different positions in politics, economic and social arena. For example, we have women who are lawyers, permanent secretaries and many others. Therefore people should support the idea of educating women because women play important role in shaping the society some of these roles include caring of the family.
Women are against women discrimination in terms of decision making. Discrimination refers to the situation whereby someone is less treated /cared just because of his/her gender, race/color or religion. Woman does not give the same opportunity as man. The book reveals that Juliette is against women discrimination as she also wants to get opportunity to express her views about the marriage her behavior is not supported by others as do not allow women to speak when a man is speaking. In our society the problem of woman discrimination is vividly seen as woman are not given the same opportunity as men when they try to liberate themselves others especially their fathers and grandparents they do not honor their behavior.
Women have true love; the playwright shows that Juliette has true love. This is shown on the way she denies marriage with any other man apart from Oko. Her common stand causes others (her parents) to dislike her. True love is seen in our society as we see people engage in marriage through their will, also, young boys and girls tend to maintain such spirit by attaching to one another. True love is very important as it causes unity and even development in the family.
Also by using a play THIS TIME TOMORROW different social obligation in a society played by women that do not honored by others are as follows,
Women are hard workers; the playwright reveals that Njango is a hard working woman as she gets up early in the morning so as to do her domestic chores by preparing soup to earn her living. It is shown that people who live at the Uhuru Market including 1st, 2nd and 3rd customers used to find the soup ready early in the morning. In our society there are hard workings women as Njango, some assume as business dealers, politicians, cloth makers and many other occupations. Despite being subjected to different torture such women continue struggling for the wellbeing of their communities. Hard working is very much important for the community development as it removes poverty thus people of all genders should be encouraged to adopt it.
Women are against bad deeds of the government, the playwright shows that Njango is against demolition of houses from cleaning city campaign as she does not know where she has to go after the demolition, and the government has not given the people and citizens the substitute areas to settle. Njango’s behavior against bad deeds of the government is not acknowledged by all especially those in power. Example, inspector Kiongo. The exercise of demolishing of the houses is commonly seen in our society as the government tends to put signs to some buildings as a warning/alert the owners to demolish their houses. This normally happens in the event when the said buildings did not follow proper channel during procurement of the plots or such buildings have been constructed under quality. This in turn results to homeless to many civilians. There is a need of the government to keenly address issues that may spoil better life of its citizens and allow people live harmonious kind of life.
Women are good advisers, the playwright has revealed that play vital role in giving advices to others. In this play, the playwright uses Njango as a good advisor; this is shown on the way she advises Wanjiro to be a hard worker and not practice/imitate as a European lady since it may causes her lazy and dependent. Wanjiro do not like the advice as she keeps on acting as a European lady. In our society there are women who are good advisers as they tirelessly mould their children, their husbands and indeed other family members on the right path to follow. Listening the advice given by women is something we should take into an account because such advice may help to an individual to excel well.
Women as aware: Awareness refers to the situation in which a person is having knowledge or perception of a certain fact or situation. In our play, the playwright portrays Wanjiro as a girl having self awareness on the importance of education in life. Wanjiro was a little bit envious of her brother’s education due to the fact that he has been sent to school while herself was not. Awareness is something we experience to many girls and women within our society since many of them are aware of their rights and are ready to fight for it. Awareness to women is soothing we should focus on because once a woman is familiar with her rights and responsibilities it may act as a catalyst to development.
Women as petty trader: The term petty trader refers to a trader who engages in small business. In this play, the playwright assigns this position to the wife of Kenyan freedom fighter, Njango. Njango is shown conducting petty trade at Uhuru Market selling soup and some other types of food-stuffs to the slum dwellers. In our society there are many women who engage in petty businesses as the way of feeding their family.
Generally, it is right time for men to consider and honor good things practiced by women because women hold numbers of responsibilities like that of nursing the children, preparing family food and many other socio- economic and political obligations. In this case men have to ensure that women are empowered by being respected by the community members.
The playwright depicts the experience of their own society but the issues tend to be universal. Justify this contention using two (2) readings (four points from each play)
Things, which depict by the playwright which experience their own society are themes, therefore themes refer to the main ideas in a literary work. By using the play THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND and THE LION AND THE JEWEL written by Guilllaume Oyono Mbia and Wole Soyinka respectively. The above statement is vividly evidenced in the outline below.
Starting with the book THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND The following are things which they experience their own society.
Polygamy, this means the customs of marrying more than one wife at the same time. From the book we see that Mbia has eight wives and he wants to marry julliete as a ninth wife, also Mbarga has twelve wives, in our society is mostly seen to the muslims because muslims are allowed to many more than one wife but maximum four hence polygamy is present in our society.
Nepotism, this means giving unfair advantages to your people if you are in position of power. From the book is seen that Mbarga is never touched although his wife makes Ark since he is the headman but people like Ondua are caught and beaten by the police. Also common villagers get problems in obtaining gun permits just because they are not known by anybody in those officers and hence they expect that Mbia can assist them. In our society nepotism is vividly seen because some of the government officials serve people that they know and sometimes they cannot any measures against such people once found in problems not only the government officials but also other people in our society hence nepotism is shown occurring in our society.
Superstition, this refers to the false idea towards or about a particular issue or event. In the book is seen that when Abessolo collapses then Mbarga tells Ndi that he has come with witchcraft to kill people. Hence people in Mvoutesi are superstitious. In the society people who are superstitious are seen especially people use superstition to obtain power, to be bright and many others hence superstition is seen in our society.
Forced marriage, is the situation where somebody either male or female is to marry someone who is not in love. In the book is seen that Juliette is forced by her family to get married by the suitor Mbia who is rich compared to other suitors although Jullite is not ready as she has already engaged to the one whom she loves Oko. In our society most of the parents force their daughters to married in order to get bride price to use as their income hence forced marriage is practiced in our society.
By ending up with the book THE LION AND THE JEWEL the following are things, which are depicted by the playwright in which they experience their own society.
Irresponsibility, this is the act of not being responsible to certain duty, in the book we see lakunle is irresponsible person simply because he leaves his pupils in class and goes to see sidi, also he does not like using his education to solve the basic problems of his society instead he talks of building a collage to teach people European dance. In the society irresponsibility is seen mostly in the head of the families, head of the nation particularly they do not accomplish what is in need by his or her citizen.
Women emancipation, this means to solve women oppression. The play observe that women are not free to make decision most especially decision about their life for example, Lakunle present people who fights for women’s rights Lakunle does not want one husband to have more than one wife, Lakunle also sees that bride price among reasons for women oppression. In our society people who resemble like Lakunle are vividly seen simply because some solve the women oppression due to their power socially or politically, hence women emancipation is practiced in our society.
Betrayal is an act of not being faithful towards something or somebody in the book is seen that after Lakunle get western education he betrays his tradition example, paying bride price, he appears as a stranger in his own country, and also he claims that paying bride price is a primitive culture. In our society betrayal is seen most especially to people who are in sexual relationship in which one of them pretend to be in love with other end fully one becomes dis-loyal to another hence betrayal occurs in our society.
Protest, this refers to the act of going opposite towards something or somebody. In the play the playwright reveals that some characters such as Lakunle protest against traditional ways especially paying bride price. He thinks that bride price is just like buying any other commodity from the market, also Sidi protests against being married to Baroka on the ground of age as says “I am young he is old”. In the society there are people who act like Lakunle since they seem to go opposite about the evils and bad practice for example, drug abuse and bad cultural practice such as early marriage and many other.
To conclude the above outline one can say that despite many things that have been depicted by the playwrights in the experience of their own society, still the society suffers from many consequences as they hinder social and economic development. It should be bound in the mind of the society that all things which can lead to the negative impacts have to be abolished.
”Conflict is inevitable in any society” but the intelligent individuals find the good ways to solve them. to use two plays you have read show the validate this above statement.
Conflict refers to the misunderstanding between two or more characters. Within our society different intelligent individual try their best in finding the good ways of solving problem that face their community. By using two play titled “THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND” and “THE LION AND THE JEWEL” which written by Guillaume Oyono Mbia and Wole Soyinka respectively.
By starting with a play titled “THREE SUITOS ONE HUSBAND” The following are the conflicts that exist in the play as solved by intelligent individuals.
Juliette against Oko on the matter of where to get bride price. Juliette as intelligent girls uses her knowledge to solve a conflict between her and Oko. Juliette decided to steal money from home and give it to Oko in order to come and pay it as a bride price .At the end they successeed to marry each other. People have to learn and think suitable way of solving conflict like what Juliette does in the story.
Juliette against Atangana when Juliette refuses to marry Mbia.Juliette as a freedom fighter and educated girl knows that has right to make decision about her own marriage. This creates a conflict between her and her father as he forces to marry Mbia. But at the end Juliette agreed to marry the first man who would be able to pay 30,000 Franc as a bride price. Parents in our society still force their daughters to marry those who are not their best choice as a result of this is terrible kind of life among them. Thus, parents have to note that everyone has a right to make decision when it comes on matter concerning their future life, so parent should eliminate outdated beliefs and traditional customs.
Mbia against Juliette Family on the matter of his stolen money. Mbia accuses Juliette family and promises to call for police if they fail to pay back his money. The conflict is settled down after the arrival of Oko and introduces as a business man from far away ,thus decides to pay money similarly to those disappeared hence Juliette’s family manages to return back the stolen money to Mbia. Even in our society of today leaders still use their position to scare other people so leaders should know there responsibility.
Intra-conflict to Kouma on what to do about Juliette and Oko marriage.Kouma is intelligent boy who knows that Juliette has the rights to choose her own husband. He thinks himself on what should do in order to help her cousin. At the end Kouma decides to help Juliette to send money to Oko and then introduces Oko as a person from far away as well as a great man. At the end Juliette and Oko manage to marry each other.
By using another play titled “THE LION AND THE LEWEL” conflict takes place in various ways within the book. The following are conflicts as solved by intelligent people within the book.
The conflict between Baroka and Sidi.Baroka is an intelligent man who falls in love to Sidi.The conflict between Baroka and Sidi comes after Sidi refuses to marry Baroka. Baroka uses his knowledge to trick and traps Sidi and make love with her. At the end conflict is settled down when Sidi agreed marry Baraka. Within our society people like Baroka still presence so Government should enact laws in order to punish those practices in order to make a just society of tomorrow.
The conflict between Baroka and Lakunle. The conflict between Baroka and Lakunle exists because of their competition over Sidi. Sidi is intelligent girl who respects herself also she believes that in order to be respected in the society bride price should be paid in advance before marriage. Sidi settles down the conflict between Baroka and Lakunle by decciding to get married to chief Baroka after being following the trick Baroka made that his an impontence.Even in our society people still collide due to the love, so girls should choose only one partner in order to avoid such kind of conflict.
The conflict between Old and Young. This conflict occurs when chief Baroka wants to marry Sidi. Sidi at first refuses to marry on the ground that he is Old while she is Young. But at the end Sidi accepts to be married with him after realizing that in spite of being an Old man but he is still very powerfull.Therefore in our society young girls still consider an Old man like people that they can’t satisfy their sexual desire so should respect them.
The conflict between Sidi and Lukunle on the matter of bride price. Lakunle is an intelligent boy he knows that bride price that is paid for marriage is like traditional practices. Lakunle as educated man refuses to pay for Sidi this creates a conflict between him and Sidi. But conflict is settled down by Sidi after deciding to be married by chief Baroka. Even in our society such kind of conflict still exists. People especially parent need their daughter to marry a rich man so society should change and avoid practices outdated customs.
Generally, conflict is inevitable in different society and causes many problem in our today society like undevelopment of our nations and sometimes it can lead to loss of life. But the existence of intelligent individuals can help to solve the conflicts which happens in our society by finding alternative ways of solve them therefore education skills of problems solving should be provided to all society members.
Suggest lessons which can be drawn from the two plays you have read under this section.
A lesson refers to what you have learnt from the literary work. By using two plays which are the ’’LION AND THE JEWEL and THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND”. written by Wole Soyinka and Guillaume Oyono Mbia respectively.
To start with The Lion and the Jewel, the playwright has portrayed the following lessons
Educated people should be in front line to serve for their society; in the book the playwright portrays that Lakunle who is a bush primary teacher tries to introduce new system of life by fighting for the women rights, for example as it shows women especially young girls should be free to choose their spouses also this also happens within societies whereby different people tend to fight for the wellbeing of the women’srights to education and freedom of speech.
We should be responsible when entrusted some responsibilities; the playwright portrays Lakunle as the one who leaves his students in classroom and goes to talk to Sidi. Also Baroka as a chief uses public funds to divert the construction of railways instead of supporting the development in his village. This is evident in our society since many leaders tend to focus on their self interest by neglecting others.
Bad foreign traditions should not be transferred in our society since they are of less value to our environment. In the book Lakunle refuses to pay bride price because he has been westernized so he has transformed it to his community and causes conflict also in societies people who are westernized try to transform the modern tradition like wearing short dresses like miniskirts and bad hair cuttings which ultimately results into cultural demolition.
Ignorance is among the sources of under development in the society; The playwright shows that Sadiku is forced by her husband to seduce other girls like Sidi this means that sometimes men use women to win their fellow women but also in our present society some women are still forced by their husbands in case of overworking and family care. It is the rationale that people have to get rid off these practices.
A part from The Lion and the Jewel also under the play “THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND” we get the following lessons;
Society is dynamic some traditions that are not good should be changed. The playwright portrays the family of Atangana who force their daughter Juliette to marry Mbia who has nine wives without taking into consideration the side effects that may result out of it. In our society some parents force their daughters to marry wealthy people even if they are not their best choice. Forced marriage is still practiced in the society especially in the urban areas; hence parents need to allow their daughters to make their own choice on the right person to marry.
Education is very important in bringing changes in the society hence people are supposed to be involved in all aspects of education.The playwright portrays Kouma ,Oko and Juliette who attend to school so as to get education and they succeed to change society. Similarly, in our society we witness people with education changing the life style of their communities by condemning bad cultural and political practices that may ruine the stability of the people. Thus, people need to prioritize on matters concerning with education to.
True love brings good family and hence avoid family conflicts; the playwrights portrays Juliette and Oko who have a true love and they succeed to marry each other and have a good family also within society some people manage to get a partner with true love hence ending making a good marriage and good a stable family at large .
Generally the lesson that have been learnt from the above plays need to be taken into an account by ensuring practical implementation is in move and not theoretically so that we can bring the changes within societies by abolishing bad cultural practices and follow the good ones.
Choose eight characters, four from each of the two plays you have studied and discuss their roles to the societies.
Roles refer to as the responsibilities they have in the society. Characters are the people who are used to convey the message through different roles they perform. Plays are the literally genre which are written by play wrights. Using two plays which are “THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND” and “THIS TIME TOMORROW” written by “GUILLAUME OYONO MBIA” and NGUGI WA THIONGO respectively the following are the characters used to show their roles in the society.
Starting with THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND, the following characters are the one chosen to show their roles to the societies.
Juliette. This was a girl and a daughter of Makrita, she was educated and the most beautiful girl in the village. She has been used here in the play to show that women should not agree on the traditions which undergrade them such as bride price but should decide on their own matters.
Atangana. This was the father of Juliette and oyono. He was a man who always saw the bright future that is why he sent Juliette to school. So as he could get big bride price. He has been used here to show how men oppresses women through traditions which are outdated hence men should stop behaving like Atangana.
Oko. This was an educated young man who was in love with Juliette but he did not want to pay bride price because he was aware that it was a way of oppressing women hence his role was to teach men in the society that they should not oppress women through traditions.
Mbia. This was a very rich and Irresponsible man who wanted to marry Juliette hence payed price but when Juliette refused and stole the money he wanted his money back and threatened the villagers to take them to fail through his authority if they want return it back. His role is to teach the people especially holding the public trust not to use their powers to threatene other people.
Ending up with THIS TIME TOMORROW, the following characters are used to present their roles to the societies.
Njango. This was a very strong woman mother of wanjiro and a very strong upholder of African traditions. She was very kind and hard working as she used to get up early and prepare bone soup for his customers she is a widow and she raised Wanjiro well as she used to discourage her habit of being lazy hence she stands as a woman who deserves to be an example to other women through her roles in the societies.
Wanjiro. Wanjiro was the daughter of Njango and she was an orphan, she was poor, very lazy and she used to admire western culture, she is against traditional beliefs and customs such as tribalism which makes her mother not to let her go to be married to Asinjo because they came from different tribes. She is cote and aware of her rights to be sent to school just live his brother. She stands to show the roles that people should not be bound up with traditional customs and also should be aware of their rights and moreover should not be lazy as it is bad habit.
Inspector Kiongo. This was the inspector who betrayed people of the Uhuru market just after the independence because before independence he was also among the people but after independence he tortures people. Therefore his roles is to teach people not to be betrayers as it discourage peoples hurt and also not to forget where they come from.
Stranger. This was a person who was believed by people to have magic powers hence his role was to unity people in the process of fighting for independence at Uhuru market so that their slums should not be demolished. People had trust in him but became very disappointed when he declared that he has no any magic power, therefore they ran away and was caught by the policemen as a person who makes people go against government order.
Characters in plays have many roles in our societies whereby through those roles, the society gets a message which can make them either adopt or go against their former behaviors like being strong upholders of outdated customs which under grade a certain group such as bride price which under grade women. Also adopting to be hard working like Njango etc.
Use two plays you have studied under this section discuss how some traditions, customs and beliefs contribute to misunderstandings and under-development in a society. (Give four points from each play).
Traditions, customs and beliefs are the general principles, rules and regulation of a certain society and they differ from one society to another. These include dressing style, eating taboos, marriage ceremonies, and distribution of tasks. These traditions, customs and beliefs may contribute to misunderstanding in the society and underdevelopment if one group is favored than the other. This portrayed by “NGUGI WA THIONGO” and “GUILLAUME OYONO MBIA” In their plays “THE BLACK HERMIT” and “THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND” respectively as seen;
To begin with three suitor’s one husband,
The play Wright has portrayed the tradition of not allowing women to make decision have lead to misunderstandings in the society. Making decision concern oneself or the society you live in can contribute to development of society. In the play, Juliette is denied the right to make her own decisions about her own marriage and this angered her and she decided to steal the bride price paid and gave it to Oko who was a man of her choice. This brought problems to the family when they discovered the money was lost.
Also the tradition of not education women has also resulted to misunderstandings and underdevelopment in the society, The right to education should be enjoyed by every person so as to reduce dependency and education also makes a person aware of oneself. In the play, Atangana blames Makrita for sending Juliette to school once she became disobedient to her elders. But this is not the reality; the education has helped Juliette to understand her rights to chose who she wants to be in her future.
Moreover, Polygamy is another tradition that can result to misunderstandings and underdevelopment. Polygamy is the act a man marrying more than one wife. This can accelerate spread of disease hence reduce manpower in the society leading to underdevelopment. In the play, Mbia wants Juliette as his eight wife, Mbia uses the money for administration to satisfy his interests and even lies the people with presents incase he marry Juliette. This can result to the underdevelopment in the society.
Also, eating Taboos can also lead to misunderstandings in the society. Food taboos include restricting a certain gender or group of people from eating certain foods. This denies a person from acquiring some nutrient, provided by the foods. It can also lead to conflict when the people take the food without permission In Mvoutessi, girls and young boys are restricted from eating vipers Belinga and Oyono are in conflict, with the Eldon because they ate vipers without permission. In the play, the black hermit,
Wife inheritance has resulted to misunderstanding in the society. Wife inheritance is the act of inheriting the wife of a brother or close relative who is dead. In the society this can result to conflicts since every person is free to live the way she wants and it also acceleration, spread of HIV/AIDS. In the play, Remi refuses to marry Thoni after his brother’s death and this made commit Thoni to commit suicide.
Also, tribalism has also caused underdevelopment and misunderstanding in the society. Tribalism is the acts of considering are tribe better than the other. This leads to division in the society hence resulting to underdevelopment. In the play, Jane despises Remi for holding his traditions and also the fact that he escaped from the problems in his village. Remi went back to the village with a man from Njobe tribe and educated the people the importance of unity.
Furthermore, superstition is also depicted as a cause of misunderstandings and under development in the society. Superstition is having faith in good like ancestors, trees animals and others. This creation disunity in the society which results to underdevelopment since when people are disunity they cannot work to bring about development. In the play, the marva people are divided as some like the pastor believe in God others like elder believe in Marva medicine. The resulted into disunity and underdevelopment of the society.
Lastly, unequal distribution of tasks like cultivation activation and taking care of the family being specific for women has also resulted to underdevelopment in the society. Women themselves can not undertake production activities and take care of the family at the same time. They need support so that the production can be high so as to bring development. In the play, at the beginning Thoni is senn sorting beang and Nyobi is surprised to find her not being done with the cooking.
To sum up, although some traditions, customs and believs lead to misunderstanding and underdevelopment in the society there are few which are of great advantage in the society especially to uphold the culture. Thhis include greeting style, dressing style and eating etiquettes.
In African societies, there were divisions among members when referring to issues of modernity. Discuss the statement with examples from two of the prescribed plays.
Answer: The term society means a particular community of people who share the same customs and laws while the notion division refers to a disagreement or difference in opinion or way of life especially between members of society or an organization. On other hand the term modernity refers to that condition of being new and modern. It is true the statement that in African societies, there were divisions among members when referring to issues of modernity, the validity (truth) of this statement can be proved by using two plays titled “THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND” by Oyono Mbia and “THE LION AND THE JEWEL” by Wole Soyinka as follows.
Starting with the first play “Three suitors one Husband” the playwright shows the divisions among members by portraying issues related to forced marriage, food taboos and conservatism as follows;
Division concerning forced marriage, this refers to the joining together of two people in wedlock done because somebody who has power requires it. In this play for example, it is shown that there were divisions among members as the playwright shows the young educated people like Juliette, Oko and Kouma with modern ideas. These become against the marriage practice and support planned marriage. This is proved on the act of Juliette stealing the bride-price paid by the two suitors and decides to give it to Oko and Kouma so that could use it to marry her. In our societies this well experienced because when parents tend to force their daughters to get married to a man who is not her choice such girl normally decides otherwise. Therefore people particularly parents should bear in their mind that marriage is an agreement between a man and a woman hence and kind of external force into it is of less important.
Division concerning food taboos, these are types of food forbidden to be used, mentioned or approached because of social or cultural rather than legal prohibitions. In the play, the playwright represents this by citing on the way Mvoutessi villagers have their own food taboos as such certain animals like vipers and wild boars were taboo to women, the younger men are not expected to eat them until they had been granted special permission to do so by the elders of the tribe. Because of division among members, the young men especially Belinga and Owono decide to go against this traditional taboo and hence decide to eat the viper without even the elder’s permission, this in turn causes a serious conflict between the elders against the young generation. In our society this variations real happen because there are special food that are forbidden to be taken by a particular group among family members.
Example a pregnancy woman is forbidden to eat eggs, also there is a special part of a hen meat which is forbidden to be eaten by any one among family members except the elders.
Division concerning conservatism, the term conservatism refers to the tendency of the people to resist great or sudden changes due to the reason that they prefer traditional styles and values. In the play, the playwright portrays this by showing that the old generation prefers conservatism to modernity while the young generation prefers modernity to conservatism. Good example is cited to old people like Abessolo, Bela, Atangana and Mbarga who oppose modern ideas of planned marriage and gender equality. Equally important, young people like Juliette, Oko and Kouma oppose conservative ideas of forced marriage, polygamy and gender inequality. This is well seen in our society where young boys and girls regard the old people in to be conservative in many areas like in politics, in economic development as well as in social-cultural aspects. There is a need for the two sides to reconcile one another in this in order to avoid serious division among members.
Similarly, in the second play “The Lion and the Jewel” the playwright Wole Soyinka points out the division among members on issues of modernity in terms of polygamy, bride-price, dressing styles and eating styles as follows;
Polygamy, this refers to the tendency in which a persona tends to have more than one wife at the same time. The practice of polygamy has been a common play in most of the African countries particularly in rural communities. In the play, the playwright shows this division by showing Lakunle, a bush school teacher who is influenced by modernity sees no logical for one man to have more than one wife while on the other hand, a person like Baroka is quite opposed to these ideas of modernity and therefore keeps on marrying more wives. In our society the practice of polygamy is common because people tend to marry many wives and this has been a serious problem as it brings divisions among the young and old people.
The question of bride-price, this refers to a payment in the form of money or property made by the groom to the bride or her family. In the play, the playwright shows Lakunle as a person who is influenced by modernity and sees no reason for him to marry Sidi with bride-price. Lakunle as an educated person considers bride-price as a savage and out-dated custom. He also regards that to pay the price would be like buying a heifer off market stall. On the other hand, Sidi being the traditionalist as well as the Jewel of Ilunjile is not ready to marry Lakunle without bride-price. As a result s serious division between Sidi and Lakunle occurs where at the end their marriage becomes impossible. In many parts of Tanzania the practice of bride-price is common as parents become unwillingly to allow their daughters marry a man who has not paid a substantial kind of bride-price. The society need to awaken in this regard by finding plausible way of handling it.
Dressing-style, this refers to the way of wearing clothes of a particular type in a particular way. In this play, the playwright shows a very serious division among members of the same community in this regard. This is because; Lakunle prefers modern dressing style as he is seen convincing Sidi to be a modern wife by wearing high-heeled shoes and red paint on her lips with hair stretched. Sidi on the other hand, does not know about this modern dressing style since she is a traditionalist; she prefers the traditional dressing style. This in turn causes a division between them. In our societies, most of the divisions between the old and the young generation are based on dressing-style. As the old generation thinks that the modern way of dressing is against the African culture therefore it is not worth following it while the young generation on the other hand thinks it is better to follow the modern dressing style claiming that it suits their fashions.
Eating-style also is another area which causes a serious division among members of Illunjile when referring to issues of modernity. It is shown in this play that, Lakunle being a modern man prefers modern eating styles as opposed to traditional ones. He prefers to sit at a table, not on the floor and eat. He also prefers eating not with fingers as most of the Illunjile villagers do, but with the knives and forks and breakable plates just like civilized beings. This causes a division between him and community to the extent of calling him mad and popinjay.
The question of division among people concerning eating style is very relevant even in the societies we live in because there are some of the people who use fork, knife and the like while others use their bare hands. This division should not be encouraged to the point of implanting seeds of hatred and enmity among members of the same community.
Generally, it may be concluded that divisions among members when referring to issues of modernity are as a result of marriage, food taboos, bride-price, dressing style as well as eating styles to mention just a few as shown in the two plays. However, it is important to note the saying that the pumpkin in the old homestead must not be uprooted. This means that we should not destroy something which is durable and which ensures security. The pumpkin offers security from hunger during famine. It also sends its roots deep into the soil and then grows, spreading itself in all directions. Therefore these roots can be compared with the roots of the African culture and personality.