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 issue that people consider as the best conduct in the 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.

 

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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

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.”

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

 

BETRAYAL IN THE CITY KCSE 2018 ESSAY REVIEW (part one)


  1. Not all those you think are happy at your fortune actually are.” With a close reference to Steinbeck’s The Pearl, write an essay on how selfishness is provoked by Kino’s pearl. Find answers here
  2. Revenge can impede progress. Discuss the validity of this statement drawing illustrations from they play Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga. Get the discussion here
  3. Elites can play a major role in salvaging countries marred by poor governance. Discuss basing illustrations from Francis Imbuga’s Betrayal in the City. Get the correct answer here
  4. WHEN THE MADNESS OF AN ENTIRE NATION DISTURBS A SOLITARY MIND, IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SAY THAT THE MAN IS MAD. DISCUSS THIS IN LINE WITH IMBUGA’S BETRAYAL IN THE CITY. Read more here
  5. Discuss how John Steinbeck uses allegory in his Short novel The Pearl to pass along his message. Answer here

Hello students, post here more questions and we promise to work hard to respond to them in the shortest time possible.

Our daily answers to your questions will appear on our blog: Wam Literature – https://mwashy.blogspot.com/

ANALYSIS OF THE PEARL


A short novel by John Steinbeck 

Before we begin, Answers to your questions are here

Analysis by Musungu Okach

About the Author

John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California on February 27th, 1902. John shares the name with his Father. His mother’s name was Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. Steinbeck’s interest in writing begun from his childhood- as a child, his mother would read stories to him- a privilege that made him to be ahead of his peers in Class. At 14, Steinbeck had resolved to become a writer and he would send stories to local newspapers under a pseudonym. Similarly some of the stories would be read in class.

Although he did well to join Stanford University, Steinbeck never completed his college degree. His interest was in gathering as much information from different classes that interested him than getting a degree.

Steinbeck’s writing career took shape in 1928 when he completed his first work The Cup of Gold that would be published in 1929. To a God Unknown would be published in 1933 which will be followed by other works of fiction that truly defined him as an acclaimed author. Throughout his career, Steinbeck wrote works that invoked both negative and positive reviews from critics eg 1936 In Dubious Battle about labour organizers.

Because of his writing, some of Steinbeck’s works would be re-written into play eg Of Men and Mice(1937)  and The Grapes of Wrath (1938.) The idea of writing The Pearl was conceived while Steinbeck with his long-time friend a marine biologist Ed Ricketts was on a trip in the Gulf of California where he heard the story of a boy with a giant pearl. The story would become the inspiration for this 1944 book.

Summary of the plot

Conceived on Steinbeck’s trip in the Gulf of California, the Pearl is set in a small town of La Paz. The book divides the La Paz into a modest town run by European immigrants and the outskirts, near the shoreline where the local people live. The pearl tells the story of a pearl fisherman who fortune befalls after a misfortune. The story of Kino and his dedicated wife Juana start with a misfortune when Kino’s son Coyotito is bitten with a scorpion and the only doctor refuses to treat the boy. However, fortune comes with the finding of a ‘pearl of the world’- a pearl so large and magnificent that sends a shrill in the small village and the town beyond.

On hearing the news of Kino’s find, the doctor claims a stake of the pearl by inducing sickness in Coyotito who was obviously doing well after the home remedy. The European priest also joins the queue by inquiring whether the family had had a proper wedding and whether the child had been baptized. On the other hand, the pearl buyers dream of how they will get favours from their boss when they presented the pearl while every member of La Paz dreams, including the beggars, of how the pearl will be of benefit to them.

Though Kino has plans about his pearl, the forces of evil against him are so intense that he ends up killing in order to protect the pearl and at the same time his family. Realizing the futility of fighting for the pearl; after his son is killed, Kino returns the pearl to the ocean and resumes his simple fisherman life.