Images of African Society In Conflict

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It is obvious in Grace Ogot's "The Green Leaves" that conflict in the story is created when one culture clashes with another. Not so obvious but perhaps more revealing is her depiction of human nature when an individual is faced with a moral choice and goes against his conscience.

Introduction

For Nyagar, life is good. Or is it When he is given an opportunity to steal money, his final thought is "nobody in the world has enough wealth" (644).
The author sets up a peaceful African village on a quiet night and introduces violence into it. Three men from an adjoining village steal six cattle from Nyagar's friend Omogo. Two thieves escape, and one is captured. The crowd is "determined to make an example of this one" (643). It is the custom of the village that it is morally right to kill a thief, and the villagers attack the man and beat him with their clubs. The fact that he was unsuccessful as a thief is not addressed. So that his spirit will not remain in their village, they cover him with green leaves and plan to return in the morning to bury him after he dies on his own.
In the meantime, Nyagar goes home, then decides to go to where the body of the thief is. He leaves the house, closes his gate and continues on. His plan is to search the dead thief for money, but doesn't that make Nyagar a thief He removes the leaves and begins the search, surprised that the corpse is still warm. When he tries to remove a bag on a string from around the man's neck, the man, who is not dead, strikes Nyagar, covers him with leaves and crosses the bridge to his own village.
The villagers believe that thieves and adulterers are animals and it is all right to kill them to rid themselves of evil spirits. ...
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