MAJOR STYLES AND STYLISTIC DEVICES IN BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNAH


  1. FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Figurative language uses figures of speech such as similes and metaphor to evoke emotions in the reader and write a more impactful and appealing work of art. H.R Kulet employs these styles heavily, firstly to create likeable protagonists e.g. Resian, Taiyo and Minik and unlikable antagonists e.g. Oloisudori, Olarinkoi and Ole Kaelo. Building such characters make us appreciate their endeavours to fight against negative aspects of Nasilian Culture and want them to succeed. In so doing we now start realizing how cruel FGM and other cultures are and therefore support the existence of Intoiye Nemengalana. In a nutshell, the styles motivate us to join in the fight against gender parity in our society. The following are figurative styles used in Blossoms of the Savannah

  1. Imagery/Description/Vivid Description

Imagery involves the use of language to create mental images. Most often, imagery makes use of carefully chosen words to create images of ideas in our minds. In Blossoms of the savannah, H.R Kulet uses imagery in the following instances.

(pg1) “Across the roads that crisscrossed the town, diminutive figures of men and women hurried briskly to their places of work. Uniformed school children, rucksacks on their backs, jostled boisterously…”

(pg3) “… the lanky dark-haired, blunt-faced young man whose big languid eyes…”

(pg59) “He lazily turned in his bed, opened his eyes and yawned: a mighty master’s yawn.”

(Pg96) “…his huge, slanting eyes probing her, stripping her naked, assessing her, shaming her and judging her.”

(pg123) “She gyrated her hips seductively. And as she did so, mischief was written all over her pretty face, eyes downcast in modesty that was so false as to be a challenge to him.”

(pg141) “He brought his right fist in a powerful blow, lifting himself to his toes and putting the strength from his legs,…”

(pg176-177) “ They were driven slowly to the front of the house, with their amber parking lights flickering in unison. … the blue pin-stripped designer business suit; the golden watch that dangled from his hand…”

(pg255) “She was exceptionally tall woman with slight built. Her shoulders and back were straight……..”

The above are examples of how Kulet has used imagery to build a compelling story. The vivid imagery builds the tension in the story and also help us discern the events and the characters as the story unfold before us as if we are watching it on a TV or a stage like a performance.

  1. Similes

A simile is an example of comparison imagery. It is easily identified because of the words like or as. Many authors and orators enjoy using similes because of their ease with which they can explain a complex situation. For instance, it is difficult to explain the beauty of someone unless you compare that beauty to a well-known beautiful thing like the Mona Lisa or the setting sun. In Blossoms of the Savannah, H. R Kulet uses the following similes to help us grasp some of the difficult scenarios.

  • now like a baby who must be born at the fullness of time, this had come to pass.(pg7)” Refers to Kaelo’s loss of job as something as inevitable as giving birth.
  • “….to haunt her like demented spirits of a past that…” pg8. Through the simile, it ushers in the life the Kaelo’s were moving to after Nakuru . Mama Milanoi know that, the ‘empty words’ of the villagers were now coming to pass and she dreaded the future.
  • “..likened him to a mono-eyed giant who stood on legs of straw.” (Pg 13)

“Like cattle that required to be dehorned….” Pg 26 “reputation that would rival that of a randy he goat.” Pg27 “… was still hanging in the air like the sword of democles.”

“…like a halfwitted child…” pg30 “And like a magician, Ole kaelo stood…”

“… like the two chambers of his heart….” Pg43 “… like ducks upon water.”  Pg45 “… like a piece of ironsheet…” pg50 “… like the sound of waves…” pg51 “… like a physically oppressive force.”

“… like the legendary dilemma…” (pg 64) “… like an overfed lizard…”

(pg75)“… like a leopard would while stealthly…”

“… like ilmintilis being roasted in fire.”; (pg108) “… like toying with live electrified wire.” (Pg109) “… like a stinking rotten carcass.” (Pg113) “… like a woman in labour.” (pg115) “like a bushfire during a drought” Pg116 “as fast as their legs could carry them.” “like the waters of Nasila and all the rivers of Maa.” Pg119 “like an animal that was unable to free itself from a snare.” Pg121 “like ominous black clouds.”

(pg138) “…. Like the proverbial ostrich…” (Pg141) “….like a ghost.”

(pg145)“… like the proverbial greedy hyena…” (pg146) “… like a dark cloud…”

: (pg156) “ …. Mad like a buffalo that had been infected…” (pg156) “… groaned loudly like one in pain…” (pg157) “… like the oluorrur tree under a turbulent gale.” (pg163-4) “Like chicks that tucked their heads….”

(pg171) “…. Like a monster….”

(pg185 ) Resian’s beauty is compared to that of a legendary beautiful Maa woman, (pg 186) “She was also like the famous English lady….” (191) “.. like morning fog.”  (pg192) “… like an antelope…” “…like a spider did with a fly…” (pg194) “like water that churned…”  (pg208)” … like one hit by a bolt of lightning.”  (pg209) “… like one possessed with demented spirits.” (pg210) “… cracked like a whip.”

(pg215) like a sow that had been rolling….” (pg219) “And like a matchstick that kindled….” (pg221) “…flesh like a ferocious animal..” “…fiercely like a lioness.” (pg222) “…like a remote recollection of a distant past…”   (pg223) “ like the image of a charging elephant.” (pg228) “… growled like an irate bull…” (pg230) “…like a proverbial pig…”

 (pg236) “…stack ivory….like firewood.” “…Rhino horns… thrown into a heap like tree stumps….” (pg243)“… like a physical force….” (pg245) “… like a ferocious leopard…” “…like a snake…” (pg246) “…scooped her like a little baby…” (pg249) “…like embarie the coward fox…” (pg252) “… as if from a geyser.”

(pg259) “… aura like that of her principal in…”

(pg268) “… homestead like a hawk.” (pg271) “..like men fleeing from a burning village…”

  1. Metaphor

Metaphors are harder to identify than similes. Like similes they compare a characters attribute with an existing concrete thing. The resemblance however is taken over by the concrete idea for instance a harsh father may be called a lion. This style in fiction help reveal the character traits of characters and at the same time add colour to the work of art. Examples in Blossoms of the Savannah are:

“Melting pot that Nakuru had become.” Pg8

pg26 “… a hyena in your homestead.” … it was a tsunami that did not discriminate.” (Pg117) “Nasila had been there as far back as the people could remember……” The paragraph uses the river as a metaphor of the Maa culture which now had been polluted by new cultures, some good and others bad.

(pg118) Resian …… was a hard nut to crack.” In reference to Resian incorrigible stand. (pg119) “…the way a bull would do to expel…” to show the helpless anger in Kaelo : (pg144) “… teeming with wolves, hyenas and crazy vagabonds.” (pg170) “… the way a tortoise withdraws into his shell.”

(pg174) “… a newborn mongrel….” (pg176) Resian compared her father to a major Domo(pg188) “ He reclined on his so far and let…” (pg219) “Was Olarinkoi a beast…” (pg227) “… resembled that of the legendary enenaunerr…” (pg267) Minik was called a wasp by the people of Nasila.

(pg 269) “ bitter bile sizzled inside her and he acid burned her heart-searing it the way fire would sear dry bushes.”  -to show how painful the situation had made Minik.  (pg271) “…shot past the range of their missiles.”

  1. Personification

In personification, inanimate objects and abstract forms take up life and become realistic making sense to the mind and sometimes evoking laughter and a sense of realism.

… mind roaming the distant past…

(pg63) FGM is said to be “rearing its ugly head.” To show its monstrosity.

(pg129) “The only thing that stood between them was archaic Nasila culture. Culture is an abstract idea, not a physical thing. Also (pg 134)

(pg243) the moon is said to be sad.

  1. Hyperbole

This is exaggeration imagery. When we use hyperbole, we want to emphasise a certain quality or aspect of storytelling.

(pg203) “happiest lady in the whole of East Africa.”

(pg231) “… sucked your veins dry…”

(pg247) “…. A trail of fire down her stomach..”

(pg258) “…. Seas of tawny woolly animals flowing…”

  1. Idiom

Idioms are figurative expressions whose meaning is not exactly brought out by the word phrases. For example when we say ‘break a leg’ we don’t literally mean one should break their own leg but good luck, enjoy or have fun. Here are further examples from Blossoms of the Savannah. Try to see whether you can get the meaning.

(Pg1110) “…chicken had come home to roost.” “… demanding his pound of flesh.”  (pg111) “…pulling my leg” “…apple of his eye.” (pg112) “… sacrificial lamb.” (pg116) “…hell broke loose.” (pg128)“… the dustbin of history…” (pg135) “….seventh heaven…”

“… buried his head in the sand…”

(pg147) “… nipped in the bud….” (pg158) “…the die was cast.” (pg159) “whipping boys.” (pg166)“….hit the roof with indignation.”(pg167) “… stem the tide…” (pg168) “… lull before a turbulent storm.”

(pg187) “… added feather to his cap.” (pg195) “… draw the rug from beneath his feet,” (pg200) “.. to develop cold feet..”

 (pg219) “from frying pan to the fire”, “a flicker of hope…”

(pg228) “…with a silver spoon.”  “….some bitter bile rose…

(pg233) “….dipping his dirty finger into the porridge..” “…music to Resian’s ears!”

(pg250) “…hit a wall.”

  1. Onomatopoeia

This is sound imagery. Onomatopoeic words imitate the sound made by objects or things. Here are some examples.

(pg15) “Chicken clucked and scratched in the cool shade underneath.” Portrays the busy early mornings where everyone was engaged with the music of different chores performed.

(pg243) howls of hyena, groaning of wild dogs, chirrup of crickets and cicadas.

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MAJOR THEMES IN BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNAH


1.Tradition

Tradition is people’s beliefs and practices which in this case has been passed on from one generation to another. In the book, the author explores the tradition of the Maa people. Using the Nasilian community, the book looks at the socio-economic and political set-up of the Maasai people.

The Maa people, in this case, the people of Nasila, have several traditional practices. To begin with, they threaded female genital mutilation is the heart of the story. When Kaelo’s family relocates to the village, Mama Milanoi fears for her daughters (pg8). As it seems urbanisation had shielded them from the fearful mutilation. Another practice is polygamy. Kaelo seem contended with his lean family and wife but his brother Simiren bathes in the glory of four wives and more than sixteen children (pg16). Curiously enough the author does not give the definite number of Simiren’s children. I should point out that, in many African traditions, children are not counted. In most cases, an average number is given. Or maybe it is just the author’s way of writing.

Besides the two, the Nasila people practiced communalism.  The beauty of communalism or what I may call community socialism is that it promoted selflessness (pg149). The key lessons Kaelo’s daughter’s learnt were being mindful of others and respect for the elders. These virtues among others made Resian and Taiyo come to love Nasila and appreciate several aspect of Nasila tradition their parents had not taught them. Resian found out that in the presence of such uniformity of love and lack of preference she could relate well with society and perform her duties without her father’s reprimand. In fact Kaelo’s daughter had the best of times at their uncle’s home than when at their lovely mansion up the hill.

Furthermore, Nasila tradition had a way of maintaining itself through the informal traditional education called Olkuak (pg150). Olkuak ensured that the cultural practices were passed on to the next generation. It was the responsibility of the elderly to pass on the lessons to the young generations.

Also the people of Nasila were welcoming to any person who paid them a visit. “it was not unusual thing to get up in the morning to find the living room full of men and women who came that early, not for any tangible business, but simply to share sumptuous breakfast with their kith and kin.”(pg35) At first, it was unsettling for the girls but soon they came to acknowledge this as was of Nasila’s custom.

There were also aspects of Nasila tradition that had ceased to exist. When Oluisudori asks for permission to marry Resian, Mama Milanoi contemplates how things had changed (pg115). According to Mama Milanoi, tradition forbade a man marrying a daughter of his age mate. If a man was infatuated by such a girl, women would rally against men and only the persuasion of the elderly would appease women to allow their men back to the house. Meanwhile, the man who attempted such a thing was killed by the angry mob of women. Besides, Nasila people were overly protective of their girls. If male guests came to a homestead where girls were, they would wait outside until the girls had been taken away before getting into the house.

Another tradition that was thrown out was “emuata a horrible and disgusting cultural practice that demanded young brides to wear heavy copper wire tightly coiled around their limbs.” (pg263) The gruesome practice was discarded for its effects on girls and women. Minik hoped that FGM would go the same way.

QUESTION: Find any other examples of tradition in the book and share them with us.

2. Affluence

Affluence means extreme wealth. After Parsimei’s retrenchment, he returns to his homeland with delusions of grandeur. In order to secure his future, he enters into business dealings with Oluisudori Loonkiya.

Oluisudori is a man of means and he displays this to Parsimei by helping him secure lump sum loans and lucrative deals from the government institutions in Nasila. Having been a modest employee, Parsimei was leaving large on his wages. However, with someone like Oluisudori, he sees his dreams of making it large in the society come true.

As it seems, Kaelo is surrounded by very powerful individuals. One of them is Oluisudori and the other is Ole Supeyo. Supeyo made a lot of his wealth in selling his cattle. It was Kaelo who helped him greatly by counting the money the man brought home from the sale of his animals (pg21.) It was from this honest brow that Supeyo blossomed into one of the most powerful men in Nasila. Another successful individual was Oluisudori. From what we can gather in the book (pg25 and pg100) Oluisudori was a gangster and a well-known extortionist. According to Enkoboini, he was also a poacher (pg236)

Surrounded by such men of means, Parsimei strives to emulate his betters. Therefore, he enters into a deal with Oluisudori. Although Oluisudori is a man of his word, his mannerisms and conduct are questionable. His motto is; ‘I scratch your back you scratch mine.” When he finds out that Parsimei has two gorgeous daughters, he hatches his plan to extort from him. Parsimei unwilling to let go of his business contracts and the smell of quick wealth, Parsimei puts his daughters in a rather difficult situation. Resian and Taiyo are compelled to make a choice between their beliefs and early marriage.

The lure of affluence, especially when Oluisudori invited Parsimei and his wife to visit his homes, makes Parsimei insanely greedy that his principal and moral standing are compromised. In fact, his love for Taiyo is quickly replaced by the want into the rich cult that he lets her undergo a forceful FGM in preparation for nuptials with Oluisudori.

3. Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation is one of the traditions that has received a lot of criticism because of its impact on the psychological and physical well being of the girl child. Despite the heavy campaigns against it, the vice has continued to thrive among certain communities in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. As a practice, the vice is carried under cultural or religious viewpoint. In this avenue, some anthropologists condemn those against the vice for cultural infringement. However, Scientifically, there are no known benefits accrued from the practice.

In practice, female circumcision takes different forms. Firstly, there is clitoridectomy which involves the partial or complete removal of the clitoris. Secondly, some communities practice, excision which takes out both the clitoris and the labia minora (vaginal edge). And finally, there is infibulation where the entire vaginal orifice (opening) is closed either by stitching or holding the cut areas together until when the wound is healed. In infibulation, two openings are left for urinal activity and menses.

Although the book does not explain exactly what practice the Nasila people did, it is clear that the either practised clitoridectomy or excision because of the olmurunya. The practice is highly valued by the people of Nasila that those who do not undergo the ritual are derogatorily referred to as Intoiye nemengalana (A girl who has not been cut.) Men shun away from such women and they are viewed contemptuously (pg19, pg46 and pg137.)

In order to be fully ingratiated into Nasila Culture, Parsimei is told to ensure that the girls are initiated (pg52). This ritual is so important that Mama Milanoi’s request to be assisted against Oluisudori is denied (pg145.)

Oluisudori also demands that the Resian should be cut be she is married to him. However, after a lengthy discussion, they decide that cut will be performed in Nakuru. When Resian escapes, however, Kaelo takes over the responsibility of circumcising Taiyo (pg273).

According to Parmuat (pg87) and Minik (pg263) FGM was a tradition which had been introduced to curtail the lascivious Ilarinkoi. Women being powerless against the charm and provocative nature of Ilarinkoi decided to mutilate themselves as a form of resistance. However, as Resian and Minik observe the practice had outlived its utility and was now practised as a form of male subjugation against women. Nevertheless, Parmuat observes that the practice in so far is for the benefit of men, it is still women who wield the olmurunya (knife.)

4. Education

Education is the passing of knowledge from one individual to another. By this definition, education can either be formal or informal. In the novel, there is both formal and informal education.

Parsimei Ole Kaelo struggles with the rat race and manages to educate his two daughters to O’ levels. The daughters seem to hunger for further education and that is why Resian asks his sister Taiyo to request for permission to join the university (pg4).

As they move to Nasila, Resian and Taiyo hope that it will be a temporary shift as they prepare for the appropriate time to ask for the chance to go back to Nakuru and pursue their dreams. In Nasila, they meet educated and forward-thinking people like Parmuat and their Yeiyo Kiti. Parmuat is a teacher at a local primary school.

Despite their open mind, Parmuat and Yeiyo kiti are at home with Nasilian culture. Resian and Taiyo, on the other hand, find it hard to fathom hardline Nasilian stand on FGM and early marriage. In order to ingratiate the girls deeply into the Nasilian tradition, Taiyo’s father requests Parmuat to teach the girls about their own culture.

Parmuat walks the girls into Nasilian culture from the tyrannical rule of Ilarinkoi to why women undergo FGM and the different kinds of love among the Maasai. Furthermore, Parmuat teaches Taiyo song and dances. Parmuat’s lessons rely heavily on the word of mouth passed on from one generation to another. His keen and agile mind seems well versed with his traditions notwithstanding the western education he had received. In fact, he is ready to forsake Taiyo’s love for she is technically his sister although they are not related and also an Intoiye Nemengalana (uncircumcised girl.)

The Maasai informal education is called  Olkuak (pg150) which was the way of life and the beliefs of the people. Taiyo and Resian learn from Yeiyo Kiti that although more Maasai’s were taking their daughters to school, they were afraid of the influence of this new education system on their cultural fabric. Initially, many educated Maasai’s emigrated to the urban centres, however, Yeiyo Kiti (pg151)had observed a new trend where this urbaners were returning back to the villages. Yeiyo kiti hoped that this urbanized Maasai’s would be the pivotal points of change.

Meanwhile, with the help of the university educated Minik ene Nkoitoi, Taiyo and Resian join Egerton University to further their educational career.

5. Gender Inequality and the Place of a Woman in Society

Nasila is a male-dominated society. Kaelo marries the daughter of Nasila and is happy on how she has behaved in the over 20 years of matrimony. Mama Milanoi had remained loyal and submissive to her husband. When Kaelo is laid off from Agribix, she is worried about how life will be but when he reassures her, she believes him. In fact, she does not even as where the money for starting the business came from until Oloisudori (pg94) introduces himself to the family. She had never heard the name before.

Although her daughters confide in her about their dream to join campus (pg147), she does not find the courage to talk to her husband about it. She participates in Resian’s marriage plans without opposing to what she felt like a violation of her daughter’s rights(pg197.) By and by she stands by her husband’s word and follows his lead even when both her daughters fall into Oluisudori’s trap. Instead of alerting her daughters of the impending danger, she leads them blindly into their downfall (pg272.) First, it is Resian and secondly Taiyo who she reassures that everything will be okay.

In Nasila women are like property. When Taiyo and Resian report to their father about the near-rape incident, the father (chapter12) takes it as a personal insult and begins to seek revenge and not justice for the girls. Though the girls were the ones offended, their say is not significant to the case. They are really offended when they come to learn of the council of elders’ verdict(pg162.) Secondly, on the issue of marriage Resian is not consulted. Everything is planned without her knowledge and what is expected of her is consent without question (pg203.) Oluisudori on his part builds a house even without the knowledge of the wife’s consent on how the house should look like (190.)

When Yeiyo botor pays Parsimei’s family a visit, she comments on how good the girls were in the kitchen (pg76-77.) Although Taiyo finds it amusing, Resian is incensed by the perception that women’s position is in the kitchen. Resian’s resilience against the status quo has a name among the Maasai- Olkuenyi. Yeiyo botor says it is only FGM that can remove Olkuenyi from a woman.

It is not only Resian who is trying to wrestle inequality in Nasila. Minik ene Nkoitoi is at the helm of not only rescuing girls from FGM and early marriage but also ensuring that they learn to be independent and equal opinion makers in the society. Having graduated from Makerere University, Minik runs one of the largest ranches in the region. Furthermore, she is fearless and therefore confronts Oluisudori unflinchingly. It seems FGM did not remove her olkuenyi after all.

6. Patriarchy/ Male Chauvinism

Male chauvinism otherwise known as patriarchy has a long history. There are various schools of thought on where patriarchy came from. Firstly, theorists believed that patriarchy was born with Adam. Being the first man on earth, Adam, after the fall of man was given the power by God to rule over the woman. This is a type of patriarchy that Bob Thomas Pierik in his MA Thesis refers to as Traditional Patriarchy. According to the paper, patriarchy was mostly used to refer to the authority of the father over the household and its members. However, it would be Max Weber who would use patriarchy and patrimonialism to refer to domination beyond household to political territories hence introducing modern patriarchy. Another applied usage of patriarchy outside the family set up would be brought forth by Robert Filmer. In Filmer’s view, kings had divine power to rule over a kingdom without the consent of the people. Drawing from Adamic lineage, Firmer observed that Adam was the first King and so men with power and influence had the prerogative of inheriting leadership.

In as much as patriarchy was confined within the family set up, it blossomed into one humongous force taking over the economic, social and political privileges until the rise of feminism. In her book ‘The Evolutionary Origins of Patriarchy,’ Barbara Smuts postulates six hypotheses to explain its rise. According to the book, male domination is a characteristic that is well developed in humans than in other animals especially primates. Various anthropologists observed that male coercion was predominant where females lack social support from relatives and friends. Also, in cases where females were subjected to controlling mates, their resistance reduced as observed when female olive baboons are released into an area controlled by the dominant fierce hamadryas males. Smuts walks us through the journey of male domination until when males became the key decision makers on literally everything including reproductive health and the concept of virginity.

In Blossoms of the Savannah, we explore traditional patriarchy. According to the book, Mama Milanoi passes out as the ideal wife; she knows and understands her position as a housewife. In fact, she nurtures her children into model wives! (pg77) There is also the expected order of things; this is observed in Simiren Ole Kaelo’s homestead. All wives are expected to respect and obey the first wife- Yeiyo botor. She is the one in command of the homestead and every undertaking runs by her. Although this is done to bring a semblance of unity, it is playing deep into what the menfolk want.

In Nakuru, the daughters of Parsimei Ole Kaelo are nurtured into what may seem to be a gender-neutral society. Both Resian and Taiyo ooze a maturity about them and they seem to know what they want in Life. Taiyo is very confident and open-minded that she asks her father for permission to attend a music extravaganza in Mombasa. The father refused flatfooted. This was Taiyo’s initial encounter with patriarchy.

The refusal by Parsimei to let Taiyo go to Mombasa creates a sense of mistrust between the daughter and her beloved father. Therefore, when it is time to ask for permission to join the university, Taiyo becomes reluctant. Resian, on the other hand, has a keen sense of foresight and therefore avoids her father whenever possible. Maybe she sensed the chauvinism in her father.

In Nasila, the girls are introduced to stone hard chauvinism. To begin with, they are accosted by miscreants for being uncircumcised. Before long, the girls are nearly raped by the same vagabonds who had previously accosted them. To make matters worse, the issue is solved in the absence of the victims. In this regard, Resian and Taiyo felt the injustice did not meet the elder’s deliberations (pg167.)

Although Taiyo and Resian thought that the near rape incident was the furthest humiliation could go, they are yet to meet the storm of Nasila which is slowly gathering momentum. Resian smells a whiff of the storm and that is why she becomes insecure even in the presence of her family. Little did she know that her father had planned for her marriage to Oloisudori. When she learns about this, Resian is inconsolable (pg209.)

Oloisudori, on the other hand, displays a kind of wretched chauvinism. Having extensive wealth, he thinks he is magnetic and every girl would scramble to be his wife. Instead of courting Resian, he goes to extreme length to decorate her house (pg190) to be and shower her with expensive gifts (pg178.) In doing this, Oloisudori compared himself to Lord Ngata (Egerton) a man of considerable wealth who lived in Njoro and also, infatuated by a beautiful girl built a mansion to please her and convince her to be his wife (pg186.) Like Lord Ngata, Oloisudori was in for a rude shock, Resian refused him outrightly and in fact, she never got to see the beautiful mansion. Lucky for Lord Ngata, his girl looked at the grotesque monstrosity of a house and called it a pigsty.

Oloisudori and Lord Ngata had one weakness; they thought that girls were for sale to any outstanding man with considerable wealth. They outdid themselves in building what was the ideal home without giving room for a woman in order to know what she really wanted. Like all chauvinists, they thought they knew exactly what the women wanted. However, they are met by two open-minded women who turn them down in order to pursue their dreams. Nevertheless, Oloisudori did not give up on Resian, he followed her to Ntaare Naaju where he is met by Minik defiance and the brutality of the men working in the ranch.

Furthermore, Oloisudori thought as a man of influence everyone would fear and blindly follow him. He realises his mistake when Resian openly insults him and walks away from him. Being confident that she was being childish, he puts his second plan to kidnap the girl only to be beaten to the chase by Olarinkoi. He is also brutalized by Minik and his gang which sent him scampering for safety. Minik too had considerable influence.

Olarinkoi too displays masochism after rescuing Resian from the claws of Oloisudori. Firstly, she is left to ride on the bed of the pick up alone while Olarinkoi and his friend occupy the cabin. Whenever she falters on the journey she is insulted until they make it to Inkiito. Instead of welcoming Resian into his humble home, he orders her around to prepare dinner and walks away only to return and attempt to rape her. Resian puts up a spirited fight that leaves her for dead.

The men in the book have a lopsided way of displaying affection to the opposite gender. Though Kaelo was smitten by his wife Jane Milanoi, his way of showing affection was providing her with a comfortable home and food but not indulging her in decision making or opening for her opportunities to blossom. On the side of his daughter, he thought that the O’level education they had received was enough. When he realises how expansive Oloisudori’s estates were, he thought letting his daughter marry him would be the best a father could. In fact, he hopes that one of Oloisudori’s wealthy men will come for Taiyo.

On the other hand, Oloisudori thought that building expansive mansions for his wives was the most honourable thing to do. Being secluded in the well-secured mansions overlooking the scenic oceanic line was the splendour that would make them “the happiest women in the whole of East Africa.” He never thought that there were women whose desire was to achieve educational and career goals.

 

ANALYSIS OF A DOLL’S HOUSE


Play  by HENRIK IBSEN

Analysis by MUSUNGU OKACH

Play Summary and about the author

There are those stereotypes that some people and the general public regard as truth. There equally are certain issues that people consider as the best conduct in society and what makes for a righteous human being. But, the truth is, we all have skeletons in our closets. These are among the issues explored by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.

Born on 20th March 1828 in Norway, Ibsen would grow to become a unique novelist not only in his country but also worldwide. Born to a merchant, Ibsen’s family fortunes will dissipate with the father’s bankruptcy. At the age of 15, he will move from his hometown Skien to Grimstad where he worked as an apothecary’s apprentice (pharmacist’s assistant.) In his free time, Ibsen will write plays.

By 1850s, Ibsen moved to Christiana (Oslo) and with interest in theatre settled as a student but worked his way as a director and a playwright. He was supposed to produce a play yearly. Although Ibsen’s earlier works did not go well with the audience, he picked out from theatres in Oslo enough experience to carve out his unique blend of playwright that has seen plays like Dukkjem (A Doll’s House ), Gengagere (Ghosts) and En Folkefiende (An Enemy of the People) dominate international stage.

Besides plays, Ibsen wrote hundreds of poems, which centred on the same themes like his plays. His obsession with questioning humanity would make his works speak to the audiences and spark introspection. Robert M. Adams says; “Thus, he made his audiences reexamine with painful earnestness the moral foundation of their being. During the last half of the 19th century he turned the European stage back from what it had become—a plaything and a distraction for the bored—to make it what it had been long ago among the ancient Greeks, an instrument for passing doom-judgment on the soul.” (Encylopedia Brittanica)

Ibsen died on 23rd May 1906 in Oslo.

About A Doll’s House

Published in 1879, A Doll’s House is a complex yet simple three-act play that revolves around the family of Tovarld Helmer. Set in Torvald’s house, every prop on the stage is as significant as the characters and the rich dialogue.

The story in play revolves around Nora, Torvald’s wife. The wife and the husband share contrasting views about the society. Whereas Nora is a free-spirited individual who would do anything for her family, Torvald is a conservative self-righteous individual who flinches at what he considers ill-behaviour.

Riding on his high moral standing, Torvald is oblivious of Nora’s slight transgression, dislikes the mean spirited and incorrigible Nils Krogstad. Now, Tovarld and Krogstad work in the same bank and Torvald plans to fire Krogstad.

A long time ago, Torvald had been taken ill and the doctor’s had suggested a long vacation in the south of Norway. Having no money, Nora had forged her ailing father’s signature to secure a loan to save her husband’s life. She hid the secret from Torvald but Krogstad knew. Krogstad promises to reveal the secret if Norah does not persuade her husband to not fire him. But Nora’s husband is adamant; Krogstad has to go.

Krogstad writes a letter to Torvald detailing Nora’s secret. Although Norah delays the inevitable, she has to wait for her husband’s response. When Torvald read the letter he feels betrayed and angry at the thoughtless decision and reprimands Nora like a child.

Torvald’s reaction to Nora’s act of disobedience brings Norah to a realization that she is not significant to her significant other. In order to grow up and re-orient herself, Nora leaves her home and children.

The title A Doll’s House is a symbol of Norah’s life since childhood. She was her father’s doll and when in matrimony, she became her husband’s toy.

Henrik Ibsen obsession with individual reflection for liberation saw him end the play sadly as opposed to the popular happy ending. In this regard, he hoped his audience would realise the power of equality stems from both the emotional and the everyday practice and not from the altar of a caring and loving husband as Torvald is to his wife.

Characters in A Doll’s House

Torvald Helmer- A very honest and self-righteous man, Helmer has three children with Nora his wife.

Nora: Unlike Helmer Nora is a carefree spendthrift who lives for the moment and can do anything for her family including forgery.

Doctor Rank : He is a close family friend of the Helmer’s with terminal illness

Mrs. Linde: A close friend of Nora. She married for money in order to help her ailing mother and young siblings. Left with nothing she comes back to Nora’s life and meets the love of her life Nils Krogstad.

Nils Krogstad: He is considered as a man of ill-repute although he claims to be working hard to become an agreeable person. However, when his employment is threatened, he plans to pull a plug on Nora’s secret.

Helmer’s three young children: characters that enhance Nora’s playfulness and childlike heart.

Anne, Their Nurse

Housemaid  

ACT ONE

Scene One

Norah is preparing for Christmas festivities. She is in a festive mood given that her husband has been promoted to a bank manager- a prestigious job and it is the first festive season they do not have to limit their spending. Her husband Helmer, on the other hand, cautions her against overspending and also about eating Macaroons. We can tell that Helmer is treating Nora like a child from how he playfully cautions her and appreciates her bubbly nature.

Nora is visited by Mrs Linde a friend whom she has not seen in over eight years. Helmer, on the other hand, is visited by his friend Doctor Rank and a colleague Nils Krogstad. Mrs Linde is a widow and needs Nora’s help. When she learns that Nora’s husband has been promoted to a bank manager, she hopes that maybe she may get a job.

Nils Krogstad is disturbed by Helmer’s promotion because it is well known that Helmer is a man of high moral standing. With full knowledge that he could lose his job, Nils prevails upon Nora to dissuade her husband against it on condition that, if she does not comply, he will reveal Nora’s forgery to her husband. Nora had forged her father’s signature on a document in order to secure a loan to take her husband abroad for treatment.

Although Krogstad makes it clear that Helmer should not know he had been in the house, Helmer meets him at the gate as he was making his leave. In the house, Helmer reveals to Norah that he met Krogstad and he knew what the motive for the visit was. Nevertheless, Helmer tells Nora not to him out of his plans to fire Krogstad.

Observation from Act One

We notice the existing relationship between Nora and her husband Helmer. It is a cordial relationship but Helmer speaks to his wife as if she were a naïve child who would not understand the adult talk. Their conversation is childish with a hint of adult caution directed towards Nora. However, we learn from Nora’s gossip that she is capable of making adult decisions for her family ergo taking a loan to safeguard her husband’s wellbeing.

Questions Act one

  1. What is your opinion of Nora’s decision to keep Helmer in the dark about the loan she took?
  2. Do you support Nora’s decision of forging the signature in order to shield her father from future blame and safeguard her husband’s health? Explain.       

ACT TWO

Norah is worried about her secret being revealed to Torvarld. She is jumpy and unsettled and when Mrs Linde comes over, Norah cannot hide her trepidation. However, things have to go on as normal. Through their conversation, Mrs Linde who suspected that it was Dr Rank who gave Norah the money learns that it was Krogstad. Mrs Linde promises to help Norah with Krogstad. However, the promise comes too late since Krogstad had already been dismissed from the bank and had initiated his fast plan of action. He sends Helmer a letter detailing Nora’s conspiracy. Nora dissuades her husband from opening the letterbox containing the offensive letter.

Meanwhile, Dr Rank comes by and tells Nora of his trepidation with sickness and bankruptcy. Knowing Helmer fully well, he tells Nora that he does not want Helmer to visit him when the time comes.

Observations from Act Two

Nora learns that Krogstad has bigger plans to destroy Helmer’s reputation and take over Helmer’s position in the Bank in two years. However, Mrs Linde promises to use her influence over Krogstad to make him drop the matter.

Helmer shows his aloofness in listening to his wife over the Krogstad issue. In fact, to show he doesn’t value Nora’s pleading, he dispatches a messenger with Krogstad’s letter of dismissal. Helmer is afraid of his reputation being ruined if he retained Krogsatd.

Krogstad shows that he is ready to use Nora’s transgressions to rise and take over the manager’s position. His plan depends on Helmer reading the letter and having a guilty conscience to reinstate him in the bank and make him a confidant.

Questions from Act Two

  1. Do you think it was okay for Helmer to dismiss Krogstad from the bank?
  2. Why do you think Nora is reluctant to tell Helmer about the loan she owes Krogstad?
  3. Do you think people of ill-repute in society can ever change? Use Krogstad as an example.

ACT II

Norah is worried about her secret being revealed to Torvarld. She is jumpy and unsettled and when Mrs Linde comes over, Norah cannot hide her trepidation. However, things have to go on as normal. Through their conversation, Mrs Linde who suspected that it was Dr Rank who gave Norah the money learns that it was Krogstad. Mrs Linde promises to help Norah with Krogstad. However, the promise comes too late since Krogstad had already been dismissed from the bank and had initiated his fast plan of action. He sends Helmer a letter detailing Nora’s conspiracy. Nora dissuades her husband from opening the letterbox containing the offensive letter.

Meanwhile, Dr Rank comes by and tells Nora of his trepidation with sickness and bankruptcy. Knowing Helmer fully well, he tells Nora that he does not want Helmer to visit him when the time comes.

Observations from the chapter

Nora learns that Krogstad has bigger plans to destroy Helmer’s reputation and take over Helmer’s position in the Bank in two years. However, Mrs Linde promises to use her influence over Krogstad to make him drop the matter.

Helmer shows his aloofness in listening to his wife over the Krogstad issue. In fact, to show he doesn’t value Nora’s pleading, he dispatches a messenger with Krogstad’s letter of dismissal. Helmer is afraid of his reputation being ruined if he retained Krogsatd.

Krogstad shows that he is ready to use Nora’s transgressions to rise and take over the manager’s position. His plan depends on Helmer reading the letter and having a guilty conscience to reinstate him in the bank and make him a confidant.

Observations from the Chapter

  1. Do you think it was okay for Helmer to dismiss Krogstad?
  2. Why do you think Nora is reluctant to tell Helmer about the loan she owes Krogstad?

 

 

BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNAH-THE ANALYSIS


A Novel by H. R Kulet (Sasa Sema Publishers

Plot summary

The book revolves around the family of Ole Kaelo. Made of four members, the tight-knit family has to leave Nakuru for their ancestral home Nasila after Ole Kaelo is retrenched from his 22 year-job at Agribix Limited. Ole Kaelo, who has two daughters Taiyo and Resian, is married to Mama Milanoi- a submissive unquestioning wife.

As the family relocates to the matrimonial home, Ole kaelo harbours delusions of grandeur in the family agricultural business he hopes to start, while the daughters hold on to the hope that their father would agree to take them to the university.

Oblivious to the girls and Mama Milanoi, Kaelo has literally sold his soul to the devil with the name Oloisudori Loonkiya. Moreover, the girls, having lived in Nakuru for over 20 years, have not undergone the cut- a mandatory custom among the people of Nasila. They are moving into Nasila as intoiye nemangalana (Uncircumcised girls)

With the desire to be recognized as an elder by his peers, Kaelo has to bide to the will of the people of Nasila. Firstly, he has to find a way to appease them by initiating his daughters- a tricky situation given their radical stance against the archaic tradition. Secondly, he has to prove he is a man of means.

Guided by the desire to be accepted into the community, Kaelo falls prey to the avaricious Oloisuduri who willingly ‘gives’ him lucrative government contracts. Known for his cavalier ways of exploiting people Oloisuduri asks to marry young Resian as payment for the favour he extended to Kaelo. Olosuiduri’s only condition is that Resian should be circumcised.

However, given Resian rebellious behavior, the two men agree to stage a ‘kidnapping.’ They couldn’t have been wrong, for Resian escapes and is rescued by Olarinkoi- a man who according to his mother’s prophecy- was the intended husband of Resian. When Olarinkoi tries to force himself to Resian she fights with him and she is left for the dead.

Throughout the book, characters take sides depending on their views about tradition. On his part, Kaelo sees that he has given the best to his daughters by giving them to the wealthy Oloisuduri. Given the muteness of Mama Milanoi, we can infer that she follows her husband’s lead without question.

Addressing the issues of women in society, the author tries to put young Resian on the lead in the struggle against chauvinism and what has been prescribed by certain societies like the ‘rightful position of women.’ With the aid of  Minik- a woman who has devoted her time to fight women subjugation- the girls succeed in fighting for what they believe in. However, Taiyo barely makes it after she is brutally circumcised and left for dead.

CHAPTER ANALYSIS

Chapter One

Retrenched from his 22-year employment at Agribix Ltd, Ole Kaelo decides to relocate to Nasila- his hometown and start his own business. Having lived in the city their entire life, Ole Kaelo’s daughters Taiyo and Resian find it impossible to forget their town life and forever embrace the now inevitable village life.  Resian having dreams to join university decides to use her elder sister’s influence over dad to get permission to return to Nakuru and join Egerton University. However, the sister, Taiyo, is reeling from the hurt inflicted by the dad who for the first time said no to her request.

Taiyo, a music lover had won a ticket to attend a music extravaganza at the Coast. Hoping to exploit her father’s love, she asked confidently for permission but Ole Kaelo would hear none of it.  After the dad’s refusal, Taiyo feels the walls of optimism crumble and she is afraid to ask for any more favours from a father who now takes the form of an Iron fisted dictator.

The three family members leave Nakuru, a town they had lived their entire life with mixed feelings. One of the most lingering torment is the fact that, having lived in the city, Ole Kaelo had turned his back to the cultural practices of his people. Now that he is going back, he is tormented by the fact that the culture he had thrown into the murk, would come back to haunt him.

Though the family is received warmly in Nasila, there are various issues that linger within the façade of celebration and happiness. For instance, Kaelo and his younger brother Simiren are reeling under the fear of power shift as Simiren had been the family’s representative in the clan affairs and also the big question of the uncircumcised daughters.

Observations from Chapter One

  • A shift from urban forward thinking society to the rural culturally rich society still buried in the archaic practice of female circumcision.
  • Mixed expectations from Nasila as the family tries to come to terms with the urban-rural migration.

Questions from Chapter one

  • What are some of the cultural practices in your community that you consider archaic but are still practiced?
  • How do you view your parents with regards to granting you your personal freedoms?
  • Though Resian and Taiyo are sisters, what differences do the two exhibit?

Themes from chapter one

  1. Culture conflict

Culture is a way of the people, how they relate to each other and how they conduct themselves. In this chapter, the family of Kaelo has adopted and blended well with modern urban culture. Taiyo and Resian consider themselves as modern women who have a right to choose what is good for them. however, as they move to Nasila, they are threatened by the culture of the people of Nasila. Their constant fear is the female circumcision.

Mama Milanoi is excited by the fact her daughters may get the opportunity to marry descent men from reputable families in Nasila. (pg8) Mama Milanoi harbours the misconception that urban boys have loose morals and cannot make for good sons-in-law.

This chapter establishes two distinct cultures, the urban culture which blends well with Taiyo and Resian and promotes girl child education and the traditional culture whose foundation is FGM and male domination.

As the Kaelo’s retire to Nasila, they confronted with the brutal reality of the culture Kaelo once described as “ archaic traditions which were better buried and forgotten.” Being monogamous and with only two daughters, Kaelo had been likened to a mono-eyed giant who stood on legs of straw.(pg13)

In the chapter the Maasai culture is explored. The cultural leadership starts with the family in which the elder son becomes the official representative (pg11-12). Other cultural practices include circumcision of boys, initiation of girls and intalengo-a sacred ritual.

  1. Conservatism

Though societal beliefs seem to evolve, there are certain virtues that linger in people’s minds. These cultural aspects are perceived to be good and should not be tampered with, some people even go to the length to advocate for such norms and some even form the social fabric of society. In chapter one, Mama Milanoi, though she has lived in Nakuru for two decades, she believes that the boys of the town have not been brought up to be decent husbands (pg8).

Kaelo believes that conservative courses and career choices are more suitable than music (pg2).

  1. Insecurity

Chapter one reveals Kaelo as a hardworking employee of Agribix ( pg9). Despite his industry, Kaelo is forced into early retirement termed as retrenchment. Retrenchment was introduced in Kenya in the 1990s as a factor of austerity measures to reduce expenditure and bring about economic development. This was the time when Kenya was reeling from huge external debt from the World Bank and IMF. It seems, kaelo was a victim of such austerity measures. When he loses his job, Kaelo decides to move into a business so as to try and stay afloat with the harsh economic times.

While travelling to Nasila, the family which had been shielded by security of the town feels lonely and exposed to marauders in the wilderness that stretches from Nakuru to Nasila (pg11)

Characters in Chapter One

Parsimei Ole Kaelo

Married to Jane Milanoi (Mama Milanoi), Ole Kaelo is the father of Taiyo and Resian. Previously the commercial manager of  Agribix Limited, Ole Kaelo is retrenched and decides to move to his hometown and start a family business. Though he has two lovely daughters, Ole Kaelo loves his firstborn Taiyo than he does the Resian. His hatred is intense that Resian instinctively notices it.

Character traits

Hardworking/industrious/competitive

Through his industry, Kaelo had risen to the ranks of commercial manager at Agribix Ltd. Being competitive, he only saw the achievements of others and not his.

Short tempered/obstinate/Domineering

Taiyo saw the directives given to the men who were loading the lorries and felt sympathy for them (pg1). When his brother told him about what the elders were saying about his monogamy, he called them megalomaniacs (pg13). Taiyo says that the father would ruin their day with his sharp tongue (pg3).

Loving/hurtful/hostile

He loves his wife and firstborn daughter so much. Taiyo felt that she could ask him for anything until he said no to her for the first time. In Mama Milanoi, he saw a precious gift (pg9).

Although he shows love and care, he has no love for his lastborn (pg10).

His sharp tongue makes Taiyo feel hurt when he denies her permission to go to Mombasa.

Mama Milanoi

She is the wife to Parsimei and the mother to Taiyo and Resian

Character traits

Religious– She prayed for safe journey before they left Nakuru. (pg 6)

Dependent/submissive– She fully relies on her husband. After her husband had been retrenched, she was in utter shock but her husband’s stoicism made her optimistic

Optimistic– Once she was assured by her husband, she became more secure. (pg 7)

Beautiful/loving– Kaelo appreciates his wife beauty which has remained so for over 20 years. (Pg9)

Taiyo

She is the first born of Kaelo and Mama Milanoi

Character traits

Lovable/Outgoing/Supportive/trusting- She trusts her father to make the right decision when she asks for permission to attend a music extravaganza in Mombasa (pg2). She has a boyfriend in Nakuru which speaks of her outgoing nature unlike her sister (pg9). Her sister looks upto her for support especially when dealing with their father.

Optimistic- Taiyo thinks positively about their future and their move to Nasila in contrast, her sister has wide ranging fears and reservations (pg 4).

Resian

Sullen/resentful/self-doubt (pg10)

Pessimist/sensitive (pg4)

Decisive/focused- She doesn’t care for her father’s success or business but for her dreams of continuing with her education (pg4).  

Simiren Ole Kaelo

He is the brother of Parsimei Ole Kaelo

Confident/courageous– he ably represented the Ole Kaelo family in the clan activities throughout the period Parsimei was in Nakuru (pg11).

Accommodative/comfortable/submissive- he had acceptable his brother’s birthright as the first born and always gave him the respect he needed(pg12).

Loyal/dependable- he willingly ran errands for his brother Parsimei without complaint (pg12).

Stylistic Devices

Description

Description is a broad stylistic device that may involve figurative language and also blunt faced creation of mental images using descriptive adjective.

For example Taiyo’s boyfriend description on page 3, ‘… lanky dark-haired, blunt-faced young man whose big languid eyes….’ Creates a mental picture of  Lenjirr however not cryptic to make us see him and recognize him.

Mama Milanoi (pg9) ‘She wore her dark hair in braids that accentuated her wide eyes. Her breasts were full and heavy, her waist slender….’ reveals why Parsimei fell for her.

Figurative language

Figurative language involves the use of words and phrases that have meaning outside the exact meaning of the particular words used. In this case, we look at the use of similes, metaphors, personification, symbolism, and hyperbole.

Similes

It is comparison imagery that uses like or as to show the similarities in things. For instance:

  • “…now like a baby who must be born at the fullness of time, this had come to pass.(pg7)” Refers to Kaelo’s loss of job as something as inevitable as giving birth.
  • “….to haunt her like demented spirits of a past that…” pg8. Though a simile, it ushers in the life the Kaelo’s were moving to after Nakuru . Mama Milanoi knows that the ‘empty words’ of the villagers were now coming to pass and she dreaded the future.
  • “..likened him to a mono-eyed giant who stood on legs of straw.” (Pg 13)

Metaphor

The metaphor is more direct in comparison than a simile. However, it is more complex given that one thing is referred to as the other. Examples include:

  • “Melting pot that Nakuru had become.” Pg8

Personification

In personification, abstract ideas take up form and are given human qualities e.g.

  • … mind roaming the distant past…

Omniscient narrator

This is more of a point-of-view an angle with which the narrator tells the events in the story. In the Blossoms of the Savannah, the narrator gets into the minds of the characters and reveals to us what they are thinking and their feelings towards others or certain things. Examples include; pg 8 reveals a lot about mama milanoi’s thoughts, pg9-10 explores the mind of Parsimei Ole Kaelo and pg 12 navigates through the mind of Parsimei’s brother Simiren.

Use of vernacular

The book revolves around the Maasai tradition. The writer has extensively explored the Maa language using words like Yeiyo-, Intoiye nemengalana, olmorijoi, Olkunchai, Papaai within the chapter. The words domesticate the issues within the book to the Maasai as well as reveal more about the maa culture especially the Female circumcision.

Dialogue

The two daughters of Kaelo engage in  a dialogue (pg 2-5) in which the view of life of the two girls is revealed. Taiyo is optimistic about life however her sister is a pessimist. The conversation also reveal the easily trusting nature of Taiyo and the skeptical Resian. As they talk we learn about their love for education and their need for their father’s approval to join university which lies in the more confident Taiyo.

The dialogue develops the characters of the two girls and reveals who the father’s favorite is.

Chapter two    

The family of Kaelo happily enjoy the morning breakfast at their uncle’s home. For the first time, Kaelo’s daughters come face to face with a large family set up. From the outset, their uncle’s family seems happy however, Resian observes that the happiness is a façade of serious competition among the four wives of their uncle. On the other hand Taiyo disagrees with her sister’s judgment.

Meanwhile, Parsimei visits his old friend and Mentor Supeyo. In their dialogue, Parsimei comes to learn that the man to who his success depends, Oloisuduri is a notorious criminal and corrupt individual who uses every opportunity to exploit all those indebted to him. 

Parsimei daughters on the other hand, are confronted  by a man who devalues them for being Intoiye nemengalana. However, the gloom of the day is lessened when the family moves to their new home. 

Observations from chapter two

  • The girls find the life in Nasila to be vibrant especially in the large homestead of their uncle Simiren.
  • Though warmly received by family, the girls realise that not everyone in Nasila is happy with their condition.
  • In the quest to satisfy his desire for success in Nasila, Parsimei makes a deal with Oloisuduri- a man known for his nefarious character allover Nasila.

Questions from chapter two

  1. What are some of the challenges faced by business people when starting a business? Do you think Kaelo was headed the right way in his business overtures?
  2. Kaelo’s daughters are disgraced by a solitary assailant who considered them as outcasts. What other cultural practice make people be treated as outcasts?

Themes from chapter two

  1. Discrimination/gender inequality

Taiyo and Resian  are accosted by a man who considers them as less women due to their uncircumcised state.

  • Favouritism/corruption

Kaelo is warned by his friend Supeyo against entering into any business deals with Oloisuduri. Meanwhile, we learn that Kaelo had already entered into a business deal that would earn him millions. After Kaelo’s talk with Supeyo, we learn how being acquinted with influential people could be of advantage in securing government contracts.

         Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Dialogue

Dialogue reveals the community life of Nasila people when Taiyo and Resian are woken up to enjoy their breakfast. It also shows the happy atmosphere Taiyo and Resian are introduce to which is however dampened by the assault the daughters face in the hands of the stranger they encounter in their walk. Furthermore, it sheds light into the keen perception Resian has as she reveals that hidden in the happiness of Simiren’s large family is deep scars of competition and rivalry. Through the conversation of Old Supeyo and his young friend Kaelo, we learn a lot about Kaelo’s pride and his sole mistake in trusting Oloisuduri.

  1. Alliteration

      “… whose fragrant foliage filled the air with their aromatic scent. Flights of birds flashed between trees and the air…”(pg15) The repetition of /f/ sound creates the musical element that defines the beautiful morning to which the daughters wake up.

  1. Onomatopoeia

“Chicken clucked and scratched in the cool shade underneath.” (pg15) Portrays the busy early mornings where everyone was engaged with the music of different chores performed.

  1. Simile e.g. pg 22 “Like cattle that required to be dehorned….” Pg 26 “reputation that would rival that of a randy he goat.” Pg27 “… was still hanging in the air like the sword of democles.”
  2. Metaphor e.g. pg26 “… a hyena in your homestead.”
  3. Saying and Proverb “two women in one homestead were two potent pots of poison.”

Chapter three

Parsimei Ole Kaelo takes his monogamous family to their new home up the hills of Nasila. The mother and daughters are excited about the house and its lush compound. To them, it’s a dream come true. However, Resian still harbours the dream of joining university. The girls also are confronted by their uniqueness among a community of circumcised women.

Observation from chapter three

  • Material possessions create temporary happiness in Kaelo’s family however hidden within the happiness is the desire by the girls to continue with their education and their fear for Nasila culture especially FGM.

Questions from chapter three

  1. What do you consider as a comfortable life?
  2. In the previous chapter, Resian observed that hidden within the happiness of Simiren’s family and wives was heated rivalry. How does this compare with her own household?

Themes from chapter three

  1. Readjustment

After settling into their new home, the Kaelos have a tedious time trying to readjust to Nasila customs and culture. Particularly disturbed is Resian who feels that leaving Nakuru messed up with her university dreams.

In order to blend in the girls embrace those aspects of Nasila culture they felt they could live with. However, for Taiyo life was easier than her sister Resian.

Styles and stylistic devices 

  1. Simile pg29 “…like a halfwitted child…” pg30 “And like a magician, Ole kaelo stood…”
  2. Local dialect- to introduce aspects of Nasila culture.
  3. Dialogue – speak about the relationship between Taiyo and her sister Resian.

Chapter four

Kaelo officially organises a welcoming ceremony which largely turns out to be a successful fete. During the ceremony, the girls are conforonted by the same man who accosted them when they were taking a stroll in Nasila. The party turns out to be a mixture of the good and the bad of Nasila culture. The elders ingratiate Kaelo back into the community and ask him to fully embrace the culture of his people.

Through song, dance and feasting, the girls meet the handsome Parmuat to the chagrin of the elderly including Simiren who knew the young man as a relative for they share the same clan.

Observation from chapter four

  • The homecoming ceremony turns out to be a paradox in itself for Kaelo caters for every food eaten in the party.
  • The elders condemn the work of the woman called the wasp and ask the daughters of Kaelo not to listen to her and assimilate fully to the tribe. This is what the daughters dreaded.
  • The unity of Nasila people is revealed as everyone among kaelo’s clan help to make the party a success.

Questions from Chapter four

  1. Explain how the rigidity of parents and elders can impact on the wellbeing and development of the youth.
  2. Write an essay about the beauty of cultural dances in your community.

Themes

  1. Cultural extremism

The elders of Nasila are reluctant to evolve with modernity. During the homecoming, the talk is centred on opposing the advances of a woman known as the wasp. The wasp is reputed to be an advocate against FGM. In his speech, Ole Musanka issues a curse to the wasp and those who follow her.

  • Homecoming

The family of Parsimei is reinitiated into the ways and culture of the people of Nasila. According to Ole Musanka, Parsimei was like a strand of hair that had been blown away from its owner’s head and now was back.

In order to be fully accepted into the clan, Parsimei was to accept the culture of Nasila and lose the alien cultures he had adopted.  

Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Stereotype/cliché

a stereotype is an assumption that all are alike especially in reference to a certain group. In chapter four, Kaelo laughs a certain stereotypes the defined the various sects of his Ilmolelian clan. (Pg37-38)

  • Description pg41, pg 43 last paragraph, pg47 first paragraph,  
  • Simile pg 40 “…like the two chambers of his heart….” Pg43 “… like ducks upon water.”  Pg45 “… like a piece of ironsheet…” pg50 “… like the sound of waves…” pg51 “… like a physically oppressive force.”
  • Saying “… When a rat begins to smell, it returns to its mother’s home.”
  • Song pg42-43
  • Dialogue pg48-49

Chapter five

The two daughters feel like they have trapped into a prison they cannot break. After the homecoming ceremony, and with the words of Ole Musanka ringing in their heads, they are desperate to live Nasila but they can’t. What they thought as mere talk about circumcision is now becoming vivid in their mind and the fear for what Taiyo describes as archaic tradition is now real.

Meanwhile, Kaelo declares that Mama Milanoi should prepare the daughters for their wifely duties and that Parmuat, their ‘brother’ should teach them about the Maa culture. All these are in preparation for their circumcision. Although Mama Milanoi is opposed to the practice, she does not want to go against her husband and culture.

The girls are thereafter introduced to Kaelo’s enterprise in Nasila town. Taiyo is excited about the uniqueness and beauty of the business, but her sister’s interests are elsewhere.

Observation in chapter five

Kaelo declares that the daughters should be prepared for marriage and Circumcision.

Questions from chapter five

  1. Prepare a questionnaire you will use to collect information about Female circumcision among the Maasai.
  2. Ask your elders about some of the practices in your community which are now no longer practiced.
  3. Imagine that you are Mama Milanoi, your husband has just told you that your daughters are to be prepared for circumcision. Write a dialogue convincing him not to let your daughters undergo the rite.

Themes from chapter five

Informal education

Kaelo instructs Mama Milanoi to teach their daughters about the Nasilian culture. He also wants the girls to be trained in the ways of the people by Parmuat; their brother.

Tradition

This covers Nasilian practices and their impacts. Tradtion begins with circumcision, its practices and impacts. For instance, if a girl got pregnant without being circumcised, she had to be circumcised at the time of giving birth and married of to the oldest man in the village (pg63).

Another aspect of tradition is welcoming guests whoever they were without asking questions (pg67).  

Code of Conduct

Mama Milanoi and Kaelo reprimand their daughter Resian for sitting inappropriately pg64. Also, when welcoming guests, the people of Nasila did not ask what the guests business was unless he told them (pg68.)

Fear

Kaelo’s daughters spend the night thinking of what was to become of them now that the eldest man in Nasila had beseeched them to follow and obey the traditions of Nasila (pg58).

Styles and stylistic devices in chapter five

  1. Omniscient narration (57-58) reveals to us taiyo’s fear of the knife and her plans to evade it. (pg 62) Mama milanoi’s reservations against circumcision.
  2. Dialogue (59-61)- explores the change in Kaelo to a full Nasilian and his willingness to let the daughters be ingratiated fully into the tribe.
  3. Personification (63) FGM is said to be “rearing its ugly head.” To show its monstrosity.
  4. Description (64) the sitting room (65) the arrangement of goods in the shop. (67) Joseph Parmuat.
  5. Simile (pg 60) “… like the legendary dilemma…” (pg 64) “… like an overfed lizard…”

Chapter six

Kaelo gives instruction on the type of behavior expected of in his homestead to the daughters and the two gentlemen in the house. Parmuat is instructed to induct the girls and he begins his work in earnest. He tells the girls about the origin of the cut and the reasons behind it. Furthermore, he promises to help the girls fight the cut and requests them to direct the blame of its persistence on women and not men.

Themes

Authority

Parsimei Ole Kaelo reasserts his authority by dictating the rules of conductin his homestead. His speech is eloquent and designed to evoke respect and admiration whilst instilling fear to the young people.

The position of woman in society

When Yeiyo-botorr visits she commends the girls for hard work in the kitchen. Yeiyo-botorr and Mama Milanoi concur that the girls will make good wives when they get married. Taiyo’s excitement shows when she contributes to the conversation, however, Resian does not agree with the women’s observation that hard work should not just be about pleasing the menfolk.

Resian’s resistance earns her a sharp reprimand from the older women. Yeiyo-botorr says Resian’s condition is an Olkueny which can only be removed by the cut.

Resistance to the status quo

Resian opposes the traditional position of a woman in the society. Her outburst though considered as irrational, speaks about women who believe in the achievement of their dreams and not being held down by the cultural demands of the society.

  Styles and stylistic Devices

  1. Description (pg75) reveals the dedication of the girls to help their mother which is interpreted to mean they had been raised well.
  2. Simile (pg75) “… like a leopard would while stealthly…”
  3. Foreshadowing; the simile in pg75 is a premonition of Olarinkoi real intention of coming to Kaelo’s homestead.
  4. Oral Tradition (legend)-(83-87) Parmuat describes to the girls how circumcision begun and who were responsible for it.

Chapter seven

Mama Milanoi subtly introduces the topic of FGM to her daughter Resian, however, before she is able to explain further on the issue, she is rudely interrupted by Oluisuduri who pays them a visit. Resian welcomes Oluisuduri into their home and she is surprised by his mannerism and arrogance. While Resian is grappling with Oluisuduri importance to her father, she notices the fear and apprehension in her father’s her. When Taiyo, who had left earlier with her father, returns, Resian can’t hold it in but tell her sister about the peculiar guest.   

The girls are told by Parmuat about Oluisuduri which raises more fear in them. However, Resian was elated by the fact that her mother had asked her about FGM. When they returned to the house after Oluisuduri had left, they children were met by silented and gloomy parents. They couldn’t tell whatever was wrong.

Observation in Chapter Seven

  1. Kaelo learns the hard way Oluisuduri’s crafty ways of exploiting those in his debt.
  2. Mama Milanoi begins to assimilate Resian to the FGM culture of the Maasai.

Questions from Chapter Seven

  1. Why do you think Mama Milanoi introduced the topic of FGM to her daughter Resian?
  2. Do you think Parmuat’s evaluation of Oluisuduri was right? Explain.

Themes

Female Circumcision

For the first time Mama Milanoi opens up a discussion on the subject she had been postponing. She hopes to discuss it with Resian but is rudely interrupted by Oluisuduri. The girls are excited to know what opinion their mother holds on the issue.

Authority/power/Greed 

Resian is disturbed to see her father humble before Oluisuduri. It seems men of Means like Oluisuduri have the power to sway good tidings to struggling business people like Kaelo that is why Kaelo showers praise to Oluisuduri while introducing him to his wife.

Oluisuduri looks at Resian Lustfully making her uncomfortable and overly embarrassed and incensed by his lack of decorum.   

Styles and stylistic devices

  • Dialogue: Resian strikes a conversation with her mother about FGM and re-affirms the legend Parmuat had told the girls about FGM. There is also a conversation between the self-important Oluisuduri and Resian. Parmuat, Resian and Taiyo also talk about Oluisuduri and how he is known in Nasila. Taiyo tries in vain to open a conversation with her dad but fails after Oluisuduri’s exit.
  • Description: (pg92) the image of Oluisuduri

Chapter Eight

Parsimei Ole Kaelo and Mama Milanoi are disturbed by Oluisuduri’s visit. Known for his crafty means, Olusuduri had asked Kaelo to allow him marry Resian. Kaelo feels cheated by fate and has nothing to do. Although, he had hated his daughter Resian, he does not like the idea of giving her to the man. Furthermore, the request for the girl to be circumcised before the official marriage is a thorny issue to the family. However, they decide Resian will be circumcised in matrimony.

Mama Milanoi delves into the cultural laws of the Maa people which could protect her daughter but realises that most of them have ceased to exist. Though troubled, they decide not to tell the girls the grave matter until when the time is right. The marriage ceremony is to occur in one month.

Observations in chapter Eight

  1. Mama Milanoi and Kaelo’s greed becomes apparent when they are willing to let their child marry Oluisuduri instead of losing their ‘hard-earned’ wealth.

Questions from Chapter Eight

  1. Would you have agreed to let your daughter go if you were in Ole Kaelo’s shoes?  

Themes from the Chapter

Extortion

Oluisuduri knowing Kaelo is heavily indebted to him uses the opportunity to ask for Resian’s hand in marriage.(pg111)”Didn’t  you tell your wife just now that there is nothing I should be denied in your home?”

Tradition

Mama Milanoi reminisces about the days a man could not marry a daughter of his age mate and the punishment meted on all men when one of them tried to seduce a young girl.

Superstition

In page 107, Kaelo takes us back to the cult called Ilmasonik- a fictional religious cult which was believed to accept human sacrifices from members for material gain

Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Simile (pg107) “… like ilmintilis being roasted in fire.”; (pg108) “… like toying with live electrified wire.” (Pg109) “… like a stinking rotten carcass.” (Pg113) “… like a woman in labour.” (pg115) “like a bushfire during a drought” Pg116 “as fast as their legs could carry them.” “like the waters of Nasila and all the rivers of Maa.” Pg119 “like an animal that was unable to freeitself from a snare.” Pg121 “like ominous black clouds.”
  2. Metaphor (pg115) … it was a tsunami that did not discriminate.” (Pg117) “Nasila had been there as far back as the people could remember……” The paragraph uses the river as a metaphor of the Maa culture which now had been polluted by new cultures, some good and others bad. (pg118) Resian …… was a hard nut to crack.” In reference to Resian incorrigible stand. (pg119) “…the way a bull would do to expel…” to show the helpless anger in Kaelo
  3. Rhetorical questions: are widely used within the chapter to show the helpless dilemma in which Mama Milanoi and Ole Kaelo had found themselves. (pg108, 109, 112,120)

Idioms; (Pg1110) “…chicken had come home to roost.” “… demanding his pound of flesh.”  (pg111) “… pulling my leg” “…apple of his eye.” (pg112) “… sacrificial lamb.” (pg116) “… hell broke loose.”

Chapter nine

 Joseph Parmuat is finding it difficult to deal with Taiyo’s overtures because he does not want to taint his good name. In order to keep his time with Taiyo sane, he makes sure that Resian is with them. Although Resian was not interested in music and dance as her sister, she loved so much to learn about her own culture.

Therefore, Joseph made sure that he taught them about the culture just to make sure that Resian participated.  He taught them about the different types of love(pg 124-127) a discussion which ended with circumcision.

The next, however, Taiyo visited Parmuat and confessed to him her undying love. Parmuat admits to having fallen in love with her but after weighing the risks involved, plans to turn down on their secret affair.

Observation from the chapter  

  1. There different kinds of relationships among the Maa people involving males and females such as: –
  • Elangatare- love between young people that could end up in marriage
  • Patureishi- platonic love between young people that went on even after they had met their prospective husbands and wives.
  1. Taiyo’s love for Parmuat that could threaten their brother-sister arrangement according to the Nasilian culture.

Questions from the chapter

  1. Do you support the illicit love between Taiyo and Parmuat?
  2. Do you think a boy and a girl can be in a long term platonic relationship in the modern day society? Explain your answer.

Themes from the chapter

  1. Love

The brewing affection between Taiyo has reached its explosion and the girl decides she cannot hide it anymore. The boy on the other hand has reservations about its implications.

The girls learn about the two kinds of relationships that existed among young people of the opposite sex i.e. Elangatare- love between young people that could end up in marriage and Patureishi- platonic love between young people that went on even after they had met their prospective husbands and wives.

Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Description: (pg123) the desire building up between Parmuat and Taiyo is captured well in the first paragraph of the page. Also (pg133)
  2. Personification: (pg129) “The only thing that stood between them was archaic Nasila culture. Culture is abstract idea not a physical thing. Also (pg 134)
  3. Saying: (pg129) “Why go fishing in shallow waters while the blue sea is teeming with fish?”
  4. Simile (pg136) “….like a deserted heart.” “….. like fish that had just jumped out of water…”
  5. Flashback: the day Taiyo saw Parmuat for the first time. (pg135)
  6. Idioms: (pg128)“… dustbin of history…” (pg135) “….seventh heaven…”

Chapter ten

The day of Resian’s marriage is fast approaching and Ole Kaelo and wife have never found a way of revealing it to their daughter. However, Resian’s sensitivity tells her that everything is not well and that she and her family are not safe.

In order to save their family, Kaelo and wife plan to talk to the people who can help. Kaelo visits his friend Supeyo to ask for financial help and the wife pays a visit to her in laws- the wives of Parsimei.

Meanwhile, the girls are told to take their lunch at the family shop. On their way back, they are almost raped by two assailant but to their luck, there are saved by Olarinkoi.

Observations from the chapter

  • Ole Kaelo attempts to safeguard his new financial status and at the same time save his daughters from Oluisuduri’s clutches.
  • The girls realise that they are not safe from the venomous male dominant Nasila.

Questions from the chapter

  1. Imagine you are Taiyo, write a Thank you later to Olarinkoi for saving you from the assailants.
  2. What do you think made Resian to be in apprehensive mood?
  3. Look at the superstition on page 138, does your community share similar stories? Share with a friend.

Themes from the chapter

  • Superstition

Though she does not believe in superstition, Resian is disturbed by a bird called olmutut which cooed in their homestead. According to her, it was a harbinger of bad things to come.

  • Indecision

Kaelo and his wife have reached a point of indecision on the matters pertaining to their children’s welfare and their family’s social class.

  • Insecurity

Resian feels that she is not safe in their home that is why before she goes to bed she double-checks all the doors and windows to make sure they are all locked. However, she still feels like she is being observed.

On their way from the shops the girls are accosted by assailants and nearly raped.

  • Patriarchy

Taiyo and Resian burn with fury over what they thought as a tyrannical Nasila society where men thought that they had power over women. This is instigated by the near rape incident.

Styles and stylistic devices from the chapter

  1. Idiom: (Pg138) “… buried his head in the sand…”
  2. Simile: (pg138) “…. Like the proverbial ostrich…” (Pg141) “….like a ghost.”
  3. Description: (pg141) Vivid description of the adrenaline charged Olarinkoi as he defended the girls from their assailants.

Chapter Eleven

The girls wait for their parents to come with a burning desire to tell them of the events of the day. Their wait does not bear fruits since their parents arrive tired and occupied with their own tribulations. The following morning, however, the girls blurt out sending their father into mad fury.

Mama Milanoi asks the girls to go and live with Simiren’s family. To their great delight, the girls stay at their uncle’s are days filled with laughter and lessons about their tradition. The girls come to see the other side of their culture and the reluctance of Nasila families in sending their children to school.

Observation in the chapter

  • The girls come to appreciate Nasila culture and its isolation from the ongoing cultural pollution brought by western education.
  • The girls learn more about Emakererei and she ultimately wins their hearts and becomes their heroine.

Questions from chapter

  1. Compare the life at Parsimei’s home and at Simireni’s home. Where would you like to live? Do you support polygamy?
  2. Using Parsimei and Simiren’s family discuss the advantages and disadvantages of polygamy.

Themes from the chapter

  • Trauma

Kaelo’s daughters are traumatized by the whole near rape experience. They try to look for comfort from their parents but the parents are too pre-occupied nursing their own pain. Nevertheless, they receive love and concern from Simiren’s family and their trauma is lessened.

  • Impact of modernity/Education

Resian observes that the people of Nasila were skeptical about the impact of western education. Although modern education was now inevitable, it still made those who underwent it to leave their villages for greener pastures in the towns and cities. Furthermore, this education brought in like-minded people who were now threatening the Nasilian culture. At this point in time, it was the Nasilian culture that was struggling to stay afloat.

  • The role of Mentors

When the girls moved to Simiren’s homestead, they found the life their easy and very social. Also, they found out that they could find someone they could easily talk with on matters pertaining to another without judgment. That person was their yeiyo-kiti. Furthermore, they talked more about their idol Emakarerei, whom they learned a lot about from yeiyo-kiti! They looked forward to working with people like emakererei to end female circumcision.

  • Informal education (Ol kuak)

In order to understand the Nasilian culture, the girls find out that it is passed on from one person to the other through the word of mouth. From the old granny Kokoo-o-sein, children learn a lot about their identity and from parents, Aunts, and uncles too.

Cultural education was also found in the activities performed and the inequality shown to all children regardless of the age. Unlike in Parsimei’s house where Resian and Taiyo held different positions, in Simiren’s house, all were treated equally. Respect for the elders was also promoted.

Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Metaphor: (pg144) “… teeming with wolves, hyenas and crazy vagabonds.”
  2. Simile: (pg145)“… like the proverbial greedy hyena…” (pg146) “… like a dark cloud…”
  3. Idiom: (pg147) “… nipped in the bud….”
  4. Song: (pg154)

Chapter twelve

Ole Kaelo gathers up men to hunt for vagabonds who had nearly raped his girls. The hunt led by Kaelo and Parmuat is successful. But when the men are found, they seek refuge in the legs of elderly males and seek for penance. Kaelo finds out that one of the men is a close relative.

Though their lives are spared, the men’s families are to pay for the atrocity committed to Kaelo and his family. When the girls heard of the elders’ verdict they were incensed. However, Mama Milanoi reasons with them until normalcy is returned.

Meanwhile, Kaelo continued to procrastinate as the clock of her daughter’s impending marriage ticked. The girls, on the other hand, had learned a great deal from their stay at the family of Simiren and were now proactive members of the society.

Observations from the Chapter

  • Nasila cultural conflict resolution is to avoid bloodshed if the offending party shows remorse or encourage communal bloodshed even if the offending party was an individual.
  • The girls believe the appropriate punishment for the vagabonds was a lifetime in jail- a sharp contradiction to a sense of normalcy that had been forged by the giving of a token of remorse.

Questions from the chapter

  1. Do you support the conflict resolution model used by Elders in the matters of the girls versus the two men? Explain?

Themes from the chapter

  • Conflict resolution

The men are ready for war, however, when reason reasserts itself, they choose to amicably resolve the issues. The two boys who attempted to rape the girls are to atone for their transgressions with five heifers. Although the conflict resolution was done amicably, the aggrieved parties, especially the girls were not involved in the matter. Whatever their feelings were, they were considered irrelevant in the situation hence Resian’s reaction when she heard the elders’ verdict. 

Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Simile: (pg156) “ …. Mad like a buffalo that had been infected…” (pg156) “… groaned loudly like one in pain…” (pg157) “… like the oluorrur tree under a turbulent gale.” (pg163-4) “Like chicks that tucked their heads….”
  2. Idioms: (pg158) “…the die was cast.” (pg159) “whipping boys.” (pg166)“….hit the roof with indignation.”(pg167) “… stem the tide…” (pg168) “… lull before a turbulent storm.”
  3. Alliteration  (pg157) “striding swiftly…. deep sorrowful sound sent panic-stricken children streaming….”
  4. Description: (pg160-161) The scene of the approaching men, birds flying creates mental pictures of the rising plain and builds up to what is about to happen.

Chapter Thirteen

Oluisuduri Loonkiya officially comes to pay his dowry for Resian. He specifically asks for Resian to be the one to serve them. Resian is reluctant, however, after so much persuasion, she concedes. The girls impress the guests to the pride of their parents.

Oluisuduri brings expensive gifts to Kaelo’s family. Mother and father are very happy but the girls have their own reservations.

After entertaining the guests, Ole Kaelo tries to speak to his daughter Resian about her impending nuptials but is rudely interrupted when the daughter mentions going to university.  

Observation from the Chapter

-Ole Kaelo handles the marriage matter discreetly, away from his overly suspicious daughter Resian.

– Although marriage affects the woman a lot, men completely lock them out of the undertakings that lead to the union.

Questions from the chapter

  • Do you think it was okay for the parents to organise Resian’s marriage behind her back?
  • What do you think are the traditional roles of a woman as observed in this chapter and anywhere else in the book? Explain.

Themes from the chapter

  1. Entertaining Guests

Kaelo’s family prepares to receive the prospective groom. They give into Oluisuduri’s demands that Resian should be the one to serve them. Oblivious to Resian, it was a parade for Oluisuduri’s friends to approve his choice of a wife.

In order to please her guests

  1. Affluence/Opulence

It is well established in the previous chapters that Oluisuduri was a wealthy man. However, in this chapter, the man’s lavish lifestyle is shown in the type of cars he comes with and the company he keeps (pg177).

  1. Protection of the girl child

Nasila culture protected the girl child against the lustful eyes of male visitors like Oluisuduri. When the girls were at their uncle’s house, they hardly saw him (pg175) 

 Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Metaphor: (pg170) “… the way a tortoise withdraws into his shell.” (pg174) “… a newborn mongrel….” (pg176) Resian compared her father to a major Domo, “…flick out like that of a chameleon.” (pg178) “… like a demon she thought….” 
  2. Simile: (pg171) “…. Like a monster….”
  3. Description: of the entry of Oluisuduri with his entourage

   Chapter Fourteen

Ole Kaelo and Mama Milanoi visit Oluisuduri and enjoy the glamour and beauty of the man’s wealth. After the visit, Ole Kaelo believes that he has made the right decision for his daughter despite the uncertainty in his heart. Another problem is that Resian won’t go that easy without a fight. However, they plan to stage a kidnapping if Resian resists.

On the appointed day that Resian is to go with her husband, Oluisuduri arrive in time with a contingent including an anesthetist if the girl refuses.

Oluisuduri informs Resian that she is now his wife. Resian runs away from home to confront her father who confirms the betrothal. She is enraged by her father’s open betrayal. Her anger leads to a shouting match in her father’s office.

After the bitter confrontation, Resian runs away and follows Olarinkoi.

Observation from the chapter

-Resian’s parents betray her trust in them by marrying her off to Oluisuduri- a man she despised.

– disregard for human dignity is seen in the plans to kidnap Resian and fore her to be Oluisuduri’s wife.

Questions from the chapter

  • We currently live in the world of slay queens and sponsors. Basing your illustrations from what you know about ‘sponsors’ do you think Resian’s reaction is justified?
  • Are parents allowed to make decisions regarding their daughters without consulting them? explai

Themes from the chapter

Affluence/pomposity 

Oluisiduri takes Ole Kaelo and Mama milanoi on the guided tour of his vast estates. Both the parents of Resian feel proud to be associated with a man of such status. In fact, kaelo harbours delusions that his daughter Resian will be in capable hands. Both parents are carried by the beauty and grandeur of the house Oluisuduri had built for Resian (pg190).

Violation of individual rights

Kaelo and Mama Milanoi finalise the deal of their daughter’s marriage without even informing her. They leave every to chance and when Oluisuduri comes to pick her, Resian is stupefied by his words (pg205).

Betrayal

When Resian learns that she had been married off to Oluisuduri without her consent, she feels utterly lost that her parents could actually pull such a thing without telling her(pg203). She cries all the way to her father’s shop to confirm the outrageous betrothal (pg206). To her consternation, she finds her father unfettered by the gravity of his act (pg207-9).

Patriarchy/Submission

 Both Kaelo do not regard their contemptible marriage plans as invasion to individual liberties. In fact Kaelo has the guts to declare that if his daughter refused to go with Oluisuduri at will, they should stage a kidnapping (pg191-2). Mama milanoi is a silent contributor to the plans, however she does not raise her objection to any of them. she feels that everything is going wrong but she cannot go against her for better for worse husband.

Styles and Stylistic Devices from the chapter

  • Simile: (pg185 ) Resian’s beauty is compared to that of a legendary beautiful Maa woman, (pg 186) “She was also like the famous English lady….” (191) “.. like morning fog.” (pg192) “… like an antelope…” “…like a spider did with a fly…” (pg194) “like water that churned…”  (pg208)” … like one hit by a bolt of lightning.”  (pg209) “… like one possessed with demented spirits.” (pg210) “… cracked like a whip.”
  • Description: (pg186) first paragraph; (pg198) description of Resian’s dress.(pg201) description of how Oluisuduri looked at Resian.
  • Allusion: (pg186) the story of Lord Egerton lover. (pg194) mention of Goldenberg and AngloLeasing-major corruption scandals in Kenya.
  • Song pg186
  • Idioms; (pg187) “… added feather to his cap.” (pg195) “… draw the rug from beneath his feet,” (pg200) “.. to develop cold feet..”
  • Flashback (pg188) “ He reclined on his so far and let…”
  • Metaphor: (pg191) “… lead her to the honey pot…” (pg192) Resian was equated to a goat’s kid that refused to suckle, (pg196) “…was a chattel to be secured by…” (pg205) “Her eyes were twin rivulets…”
  • Hyperbole (pg203) happiest lady in the whole of East Africa.”   

     Chapter Fifteen

Resian takes Olarinkoi for his word and elopes with him. Being desperate to get away from her parents and Oluisuduri, she suffers silently behind the pick-up truck to her destination. Her hopes are dashed when she realizes that Olarinkoi had kidnapped her for himself. He had no plans of taking her to Emakererei.

Olarinkoi attempts to rape her but she gets the better of him. She, however, is left for the dead. After her recovery, she wins the affection of the woman who nursed her.

Observation from the Chapter    

  • Olarinkoi tricks Resian into another matrimony.
  • Resian proves to be wild and tenacious as she fights against Olarinkoi’s brutal assault.
  • Resian’s fighting spirit wins the admiration of the woman who nursed her back to life.

Questions from the Chapter

  1. Outline the activities that led to the near rape experience of Resian.
  2. You are a counselor mandated to counsel Resian from her near rape experience, write down the points you will consider in your advice.
  3. Imagine Resian is narrating to you her ordeal with Olarinkoi. Write down five things you will do to listen actively.

Themes from the chapter  

  1. Empathy/Kindness/Maternal Love

Resian is housed by a kindly woman who generously offers her a blanket for her long pick up ride to Olarinkoi’s home. After the rape attempt on her, she meets a gorgeous woman who takes care of her as only a mother would. Resian is touched by the woman’s kindness.

  1. Optimism/hope

When Resian started her journey in the morning, she was in high spirits. She braved the mosquitoes and the unforgiving sun with high hopes of meeting her role model. For the first time in her entire life, she was vivacious with little doubt until Olarinkoi attempted to rape her.

  1. Betrayal

Resian trusted Olarinkoi to save her from her father’s brutality and advances of Oluisuduri only for Olarinkoi to turn against her. Previously, Olarinkoi had earned her admiration and trust when he saved Resian and Taiyo from the vagabonds who had tried to rape them.

Styles and stylistic devices

  1. Description (pg214)(pg223) “She tried to lift her head…..” (pg226)”It was late afternoon when…” (pg227) “Resian could not estimate her age….”  
  2. Simile: (pg215) like a sow that had been rolling….” (pg219) “And like a matchstick that kindled….” (pg221) “…flesh like a ferocious animal..” “…fiercely like a lioness.” (pg222) “…like a remote recollection of a distant past…”  (pg223) “ like the image of a charging elephant.” (pg228) “… growled like an irate bull…” (pg230) “…like a proverbial pig…”
  • Idiom: (pg219) “from frying pan to the fire”, “a flicker of hope…” (pg228) “…with a silver spoon.” “….some bitter bile rose… (pg233) “….dipping his dirty finger into the porridge..” “…music to Resian’s ears!”  
  1. Metaphor: (pg219) “Was Olarinkoi a beast…” (pg227) “… resembled that of the legendary enenaunerr…”
  2. Alliteration: /f/- “float fleetingly …of fanciful…”
  3. Dream: (pg220) Resian’s dream
  • Allusion: (pg230) Biblical allusion- Jobs story;(pg231) famous quote: “ What pained one most was not the injustices carried out against one by one’s adversaries, but the silence of those who called themselves his or her friends at the time the injustice was being carried out.”
  • Saying: (pg231) “Although one had to know which side their bread was buttered….”
  1. Hyperbole: (pg231) “… sucked your veins dry…”

Chapter sixteen

Resian takes time to heal and regain her strength back. While she heals, her mother-in-law to be the enkoiboni berates her with insults. Meanwhile, Olarinkoi pays her a visit to inform her about her intended circumcision and their fleeing to Tanzania before Oluisuduri and Kaelo should get to them. On the other hand, the woman who had been taking care of her, the Enkabaani (medicine woman and nurse) was struggling to secure Resian’s freedom from the forced molestation and subsequent marriage. She succeeds in securing a means of transport in time for Resian to escape Olarinkoi, his mother and subsequent rituals they had planned.

The journey to Minik ene Nkoitoi proves to be arduous and a reflective one for Resian. Resian is delighted to meet Minik who instantly recognizes her. Apparently, Resian is one of the most sought after girls with a bounty of half a million on her head!       

   Observations from the chapter

Resian’s commitment and passion to go places attracts the love and care of Entabaani, whose role was to prepare her for circumcision. The entabaani shows a sincere dedication and sacrifices a lot like Grusha did in The Caucasian Chalk circle ensure Resian got to her destination.

Questions from the Chapter

  1. Imagine you are Resian, write a personal journal about your experiences on the way to Minik ene Nkointoi’s Ranch.

Themes from the chapter

  1. Poaching/ environmental destruction

The Enkoboini tells Resain of how Oluisuduri killed elephants for their tusks- a thing that earned him his wealth status (pg236. While traveling to Minik’s Ranch, Resian is disturbed by the indiscriminate cutting of trees. She hopes the efforts of Wangari Maathai (her heroine) will bear fruits and people we start valuing trees (pg250).

  1. Poverty/underdevelopment

Resian sees a lot of poverty in her surrounding beginning with Olarinkoi’s house, her neighbours and the emaciated children with their young mothers (pg236-9).

  1. Early marriage

After gaining some energy, Resian ventures into the village and there she meets women younger than her married to older men. What disturbed Resian was the young women; some around 15 or 16 had children with them (pg239).

Styles and Stylistic Devices   

  1. Simile: (pg236) “…stack ivory….like firewood.” “…Rhino horns… thrown into a heap like tree stumps….” (pg243)“… like a physical force….” (pg245) “… like a ferocious leopard…” “…like a snake…” (pg246) “…scooped her like a little baby…” (pg249) “…like embarie the coward fox…” (pg252) “… as if from a geyser.”    
  2. Allusion: (pg242) Biblical allusion- Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane. (pg251) “…find her nirvana..” (pg257) biblical allusion 1st Cor 12:13
  3. Description: (pg243) “Then the moon emerged, its sad yellow….” (pg245-6) “She woke up with a start…”
  4. Personification: (pg243) moon is said to be sad.
  5. Onomatopoeia: (pg243) howls of hyena, groaning of wild dogs, chirrup of crickets and cicadas.
  6. Dream: (pg244) about Resian’s fear of the cut.
  7. Hyperbole: (pg247) “…. A trail of fire down her stomach..”
  8. Idiom; (pg250) “…hit a wall.”
  9. Proverb: (pg257)“Home was never far for one who was still alive.”

Chapter seventeen

Resian is delighted to arrive at Ntaare Naju- Minik Ene Nkoitoi the Emakererei’s ranch. Minik gladly welcomes her and offers her a job at the ranch. She also lets Nabaru stay because the poor woman had nowhere else to go after Ilarinkoi’s threat. Minik is proud of Resian’s fighting spirit and commends her for standing against Oluisuduri and Olarinkoi.

Observation from Chapter

Resian is an embodiment of hope and faith and her strive to win against all odds finally lands her in the capable hands of Minik.

Questions from the chapter

  1. Do you think Minik was the wasp or a witch as the people of Nasila called her? Explain.
  2. Imagine you are Resian and have been invited to talk about the will to fight. Write the speech you will give.

Themes from the Chapter

  1. Empathy/ warmth

Minik welcomes Resian with open arms she does not give Resian to explain her situation. Like a loving mother, she allows Resian to clean up eat before she could listen to her situation. Furthermore, she offers Resian a job and allows Nabaru to stay.

  1. Struggle against patriarchy

Resian and Nabaru give an account of whatever happened in the hands of Olarinkoi and Resian’s near death experience. This coupled with the struggle Minik is involved in reveals the dedication of the women folk to stand against the decadent Nasila culture (pg262).

  1. Tradition

Minik points out that she is an ardent supporter of Maa traditions but she believes that culture is dynamic and therefore it should shed negative aspects. She says, FGM like the culture of adorning heavy copper wires by young brides called emuata should be done away with (pg263).   

  1. Triumph

Resian feels triumphant after being welcomed by Minik. She had successfully outwitted two men who wanted to marry her and also compel her into FGM (pg265).   

Styles and Stylistic Devices

  1. Hyperbole: (pg258) “…. Seas of tawny woolly animals flowing…”
  2. Description: (pg258) The features of Resian are explored by Minik at length and those of Minik. (pg260) description of Minik’s home. (pg266) the two bedroomed house in which Resian was to live.
  3. Simile: (pg259) “… aura like that of her principal in…”
  4. Metaphor: (pg267) Minik was called a wasp by the people of Nasila.

Chapter Eighteen

Resian is doing well under the wing of her mentor Minik the Emakererei. However, before she could settle in and know Minik well- a hard thing to do for Minik is very official when dealing with people- a rescued girl is brought to the ranch. The girl turns to be Taiyo- Resian’s sister.

Apparently, Taiyo had been lured to an isolated by three women- with an assurance from her mother that everything was well. According to what she was told, she was only going to persuade her sister Resian to eat. Before she knew she had been duped, she was grabbed and brutally circumcised and watched over by Oluisuduri goons.  The goons killed Joseph Parmuat- a man who had helped save Taiyo.

As Taiyo progressively heal, the girls, Nabaru and Minik try to find fault in the parents who encouraged female circumcision and the community that encouraged it. The girls blamed their parents and vowed to become better Maa parents as they advocated against the vice.

Observation from the Chapter

  • Born a very clumsy and pessimistic child, Resian proves to be very hardworking and a keen learner ready to take on the world. This is a contrast from a Resian we meet at the beginning of the book. She is also very vibrant.
  • The easily trusting and loving Taiyo is lured into FGM. It is here that we learn that the girls’ mother was privy to all that was going on with the girls. She was in cohorts with their father.

Questions from the Chapter

  1. What do you think was the reason behind Resian change of perception in life?
  2. According to you own opinion, were the girls’ parents at fault for choosing Oluisuduri for a husband for their daughters?

Themes from the chapter

  1. Impacts of Female Genital Mutilation

After Taiyo’s mutilation she suffers extreme pain that leads to her temporary memory loss and trauma. She had to undergo extensive conselling to come to terms with what she had gone through.

Styles and Stylistic Devices

  1. Simile: (pg268) “… homestead like a hawk.” (pg271) “..like men fleeing from a burning village…”
  2. Metaphor: (pg 269) “ bitter bile sizzled inside her and he acid burned her heart searing it the way fire would sear dry bushes.” -to show how painful the situation had made Minik.  (pg271) “…shot past the range of their missiles.”

Chapter Nineteen

Taiyo and Resian receive their letters of admission to Egerton University. While celebrating their farewell party, the girls are confronted by Oluisuduri and his goons. Oluisuduri demands that he should be given one of the girls since he had already paid double the bride price.

Minik cautions him but it is only after the threat of violence and burning of his cars that the man and his goons left. The following day, the girls are driven to their new school.  

Observations from the Chapter

  • The girls finally get their admissions to the university of their dream. It was a sweet victory given the struggle they had put to get here. Their defiance and assistance from those who believed finally pays off.

Questions from the Chapter

  1. Imagine you are Taiyo – A freshman/woman at Egerton university. Your class has organised a trip to Nasila to talk to young people in schools about the importance of not giving up in life. Write a speech titled ‘Your Dreams are Valid,’ based on Taiyo life experiences in the book.

Themes from the Chapter

Triumph

The girls at Ntara Naaju celebrate their triumph against those aspects of culture considered awkward. The celebration reach crescendo when Oulisuduri and his henchmen are clobbered and chased away from the ranch.

Styles and Stylistic Devices

  1. Song (pg281)
  2. Dialogue: (pg282-3) there is a bitter exchange between Oluisuduri and Minik.

How to Write your High School Essay


Writing high school essay is as simple as telling a story. Students ought to find their own perspective in relation to the question asked then whip out the writing magic and get to work. Read more here

There are various skills that you require to make your essay appealing to the examiner. We have already looked at the Introduction, the body, and the conclusion. In this episode, we are going to focus on individual writing skills Continue reading here

BETRAYAL IN THE CITY KCSE REVISION 2018


  1. “A society’s image is dependent on its governance.” Using illustrations from Francis Imbuga’s Betrayal in the City, write an essay in support of this statementREAD HERE
  2. “True motherhood is not necessarily biological.” Write an essay illustrating this statement using Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.HERE
  3. “The outside of this cell may be inside of another.” With illustrations from the play Betrayal in the City, write an essay to discuss what Jere means by this statement. HERE
  4. Explain how the kitchen cabinet is responsible for the government of kafira. Drawing your illustrations from Francis Imbugas play betrayal in the city. ANSWER HERE
  5. “There are times when our actions are motivated by self-sacrifice.” Write an essay using specific illustrations from The Caucasian Chalk Circle to support this statement. ANSWER HERE

BETRAYAL IN THE CITY KCSE REVISION 2018 (part 2)


Hello World, we are committed to helping you achieve the best in academics. Drop us your questions in literature and we shall get back to you. Here is our second part.

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  1. Azdak, despite his Solomonic Wisdom, has some disgraceful traits. Write an essay in support of the statement basing your illustrations on Bertolt Brecht’sThe Caucasian Chalk Circle  Answers here
  2. Runaway oppression and many other injustices are the order of the day in Kafira. Discuss this statement using illustrations from Francis Imbuga’s Betrayal in the City’  Answer here
  3. Greed for worldly possessions can lead to uncontrollable madness. Using Kino, draw illustrations from John Steinbeck’s The PearlAnswer here
  4. Using illustrations from Betrayal in the City, Explain how Francis Imbuga has addressed the issue of bad governance.  Answer here
  5. ‘Some people abandon family members during difficult times for the sake of their own material thirst.’ With illustrations from The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, Write an essay on the truth of this statement. Click this to go to answers