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Images of African Society In Conflict - Book Report/Review Example

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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. However, the white man's laws call it murder and believe that murderers should die. The villagers decide their way is right because they have ancestors around them and the white man has none. The villagers plan to outthink the white man by having the whole clan responsible for the death of the thief, because the "white man's tricks work only among divided people" (645). Here there are no lawyer's arguments, no contradictions and complicated processes. Life is simple. Beliefs are simple.
The members of the clan, knowing the white man's strange practice of cutting the body up and stitching it back together, want to see the corpse before the white man takes it away. When the body is uncovered, it is not the thief but Nyagara, cousin of the village chief. After the initial shock, the chief says, "My countrymen, the evil hand has descended upon us. Let it not break up our society. Although Nyagar is dead, his spirit is still among us" (647). In this story, according to the beliefs of his village, Nyagar deserves to die for the simple reason that he is a thief. The contradiction is that the chief does not know that and unknowingly accepts what the tribe would consider an evil spirit in their midst.
Ama Ata Aidoo's "Two Sisters" also explores moral choices in African society, but more in keeping with the two sides of neo-colonial urban lifestyles in modern Africa, middle class and wealthy. The two main characters are Mercy and her pregnant sister, Connie. Mercy stays with her sister and her sister's husband and child. She hates her dull job as a typist, and claims she wants the security that Connie has, but it is obvious she wants much more. She "wishes she could sleep deep and only wake up on the morning of her glory" (650). She dreams of being with an influential, wealthy man. Connie encourages her to go out with taxi driver Joe, but Mercy teases her, saying "it's a pity you're married already. Or I could be a go-between for you and Joe" (651). Connie is well aware that Mercy wants material ...Show more


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.
Author : littlealta
Images of African Society In Conflict essay example
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