STATE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ARKADI’S SONG IN ACT 1.
Arkadi is a master of his art. He sings with great skill and knowledge. From the song in Act One, he sets the pace for the entire story. In the first part of the song, we learn of the great affluence the Governor Georgi Abashwili lived in. The Singer says, the governor as rich as Croesus. This he contradicts with the words; he had so many beggars on his doorstep. This leads us to ask the question, what was the governor leading. Where is the prosperity when only one man lives in affluence while the majority languishes in poverty?
The song makes us realize how foolish the proletariats are. They only put more hope in the leadership which of course is more than a pest one cannot get rid of. Despite many unsolved problems under the Governors watchful eyes, the Proles are happy to see the future governor (Georgi’s son and heir) The Fat prince bows before what is described as the Apple of the Governor’s eye. What is in leadership except greed and exploitation?
We can also draw from the song that, common people are more concerned about their welfare more than the welfare of the state. Simon Shashava concerns himself with his jealousies over Grusha more than his duties.
The song is subtle in explanation but more profound in meaning. It reproaches bad governance and coups. It showcases the governor’s pretense at worshipping on the Easter Sunday yet he is cruel and uncaring.
It postulates the conniving ways of the Fat Prince and how the unusual security turns against the governor and kills him. The events that followed are described as the suffering of the masses. In the imagery created, The Singer says, the proles share in the suffering of the mighty but not in their good life. From this were draw the subtlety of the composer in trying to draw us to the gravity of the matter.
We also see the contradiction in the story. Biblically, Easter represents the resurrection of the Eternal King, here, the Governor is brutally murdered. His life ends on the resurrection of Jesus. If we can draw from other parts of the text, we learn that the governor did not die for the interest of the masses but those of the Fat Prince.
We draw an interesting conclusion that coups are not meant to save the masses from tyranny but to propagate tyrannous leadership.
Finally, the imagery portrayed in the last part of Act One is that of perfect growth of love. It symbolizes the natural understanding that characterizes bonding and care. Grusha is not in haste to take the child until when she is certainly sure that the child has no allegiance.
We can conclude that singer paints an affluent picture in the midst of despair. He immortalizes the suffering of the masses when the Governor dies and rekindles the hope of future suffering when Grusha rescues the life of Michael that is, if Machael grows and comes to reclaim his position as Governor Abashwili’s son, then the future is uncertain. It is always in the interest of the masses that the majority suffers.
EXPLAIN WHAT IS IRONICAL ABOUT THE GOVERNOR’S FAMILY GOING TO CHURCH ON THE MORNING OF EASTER SUNDAY.
The Governor’s Family is surrounded by heavy security as they make their way to church. They are oblivious of the suffering of the majority as Ironshirts control crowd.
We are exposed to absolute poverty and suffering. There are hundreds of mother with hungry children, beggars, petitioners while the governor’s child is enveloped by two doctors who constantly pamper him. The governor’s afternoon meal is made of goose meat!
The large number of the Ironshirts turns the church into a battleground than a place of worship.
From what we get from Arkadi, the Governor attends the mass as a show off for his future heir. The Singer says, for the first time the people saw the heir to the throne.
The biggest Irony is, the governor family goes to celebrate the resurrection only to turn out as the day the Governor Georgi Abashwili is assassinated by the very Ironshirts who are mandated to protect him.
COMPARE THE RELATIONSHIP OF MOTHER WHALE AND THE BULL WHALE AND THAT OF KORO APIRANA AND NANI FLOWERS.
The Whale Rider is an intriguing read especially when we mirror the comparison of the qualities of Mother Whale and Nani Flowers and the drooling that characterize Koro Apirana and the Bull Whale.
HOW CAN YOU RELATE THE DEATH OF AKELLO TO HER OLD LIFE, I MEAN AT THE TIME OF HER DEATH AND HER OLD LIFE?
Akello Adoyo is a woman who has the strength to accept what life offers her. She makes lemonade from lemon and sweetens it we the agility to change. Her life is dedicated to hardwork which she implants to her kin. She follows the direction the wind propels her like a dhow in water and marvels us with how she makes thing better.
Given the name Akello, after her barren step grandmother, traditionalists would have hoped that she will live a desperate lonely life. We cannot refute that her life is full of disruptions but what makes her extraordinary is how she picks up her skeletons and moves. Akello could mean in Luo that she was brought home or something to that effect. Let us explore Akoko’s life on the concept of Akello, in this context trying to look at how she took it out of her heart to look at life positively.
Akoko, despite the loss of her first born son, takes on a brave face to move on. She continues building her home even when her husband falls. She relentlessly struggles despite the pain of losing her remaining son Owang Sino.
Her energy is directed towards rebuilding the remaining life by clinging on the hope of her grandson Owuor Sino. After securing the heritage of her grandson, she lives as a migogo before moving to Aluor.
We are here looking at a woman who does not resist change- a woman who works hours on end to forge a relationship with the cruel nature. She trains her new society to accept change notwithstanding the stumbling blocks that is death. She inclines to her small family of Nyabera, Awiti and Owuor for love and comfort.
Though she cried over the spilt milk, she did not linger over the milk like many choose to do. She had the free spirit to explore the world and drink on the fine and bitter life had to offer. She painstakingly establishes a generation of acceptance happiness and love.
She is the pillar on which Owuor Sino finds the strength to forsake traditional leadership and embrace priesthood. She establishes a new path. Many would have proclaimed she had lost the course when she lost her only heir to celibacy.
We can say that Akoko died as she had lived. Her life of urgency was manifested in how she died on the night after she had happily dined with her future grandson-in-law. Her carefree heart gave in just as she had lived taking unexpected turns which life offered.
SCENE THREE: IN THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS
GRUSHA arrives in her brother LAVRENTI VASHNADZE’s house tired and worn out and on a verge of delirium. LAVRENTI is worried that GRUSHA has illegitimate child. His worry is that, his wife ANIKA is religious and will not allow an illegitimate child to stay around is against religious teachings.
From the song of the Center we are drawn to the predicament those who remain behind feel about war. GRUSHA is uncertain whether SIMON will survive the war and come to her unscathed. Meanwhile her life in the Northern Mountains is unbearable since she lives isolated because of the illegitimate child who does not have legal and religious recognition.
LAVRENTI finds a peasant woman who has a son that is bed ridden and is about to die. Since the woman is desperate for money, LAVRENTI offers to marry GRUSHA to the dying man so that MICHAEL may have papers. GRUSHA having no option decided to take the offer.
The wedding ceremony is conducted on the dying man’s death bed. The MONK presiding the ceremony is drunk and does not notice the illegitimate child but sardonically hints at the awkwardness of the situation. There are mourners and equally celebrations of the wedding.
After the wedding, mourners come in large numbers. There suddenly erupts a discussion on the matters of the war. Someone mentions that the war is over and the soldiers are coming home. GRUSHA is devastated.
When the dying man, JUSSUP gets wind of the news that the war is over, he wakes from his death bed and sends away all the mourners who were enjoying cakes over gossip. He then demands submission from GRUSHA.
MICHAEL and other children play the coup. MICHAEL refuses to be the GOVERNOR and wants the role of THE FAT PRINCE who slays the GOVERNOR. Meanwhile, SIMON SHASHAVA comes by the river and finds GRUSHA washing clothes. SIMON is notices clothes of a young one, a significance the young lady could have married and has a child. SIMON is wounded and demands his necklace back.
GRUSHA is interrupted by noise from the children as SIMON makes his leave. She caught between running for SIMON her love and MICHAEL who is being taken away by two IRONSHIRTS. She decides to run for MICHAEL who has been summoned by the NATELLA ABASHWILI his mother.
It is a wonder how GRUSHA loves MICHAEL. She has gone to extremes to make sure that she remains with the child. She has even sacrificed her vow to SIMON SHASHAVA but she is unrelenting yet she and MICHAEL are not of the same blood!
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN SCENE THREE
1. GRUSHA is received coldly by his brother LAVRENTI who is worried of the child.
2. GRUSHA marries JUSSUP to make the child legitimate.
3. MICHAEL is taken by the IRONSHIRTS.
4. SIMON gets angry because of GRUSHA’s marriage.
QUESTIONS FROM SCENE THREE
1. Do you think GRUSHA’s act of marrying JUSSUP was ill-considered?
2. Explain the character of LAVRENTI character.
3. Explain the IMPACT of the game MICHAEL and the kids play.
OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM SCENE THREE
1. The act exposes the weakness of religious beliefs which creates loopholes for exploitation especially for the women as seen in GRUSHA’s predicament.
SCENE TWO: THE FLIGHT INTO THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS
GRUSHA takes MICHAEL with her towards the Northern Mountains. She tries to buy milk from a peasant and realizes how expensive the milk has become-the effects of war are being felt as soldiers collect trophies of war.
TWO IRONSHIRTS and a CORPORAL are pursuing GRUSHA with the command to take the child to the FAT PRINCE. Their conversation draws to a reality that, soldiers are meant serve without question, follow orders heartlessly and be ready to sacrifice themselves for the state or those in power.
GRUSHA tries to leave the child at the doorstep of a peasant’s house but goes back to the peasant when she realizes that the IRONSHIRTS are pursuing the child. She hits the CORPORAL with a wooden plank and takes off with the child.
GRUSHA crosses a delicate bridge risking both her life and that of the child.
GRUSHA displays the height of humanity and love of life to risk her own life to save the life of a child she barely knew, unlike the child’s mother who quickly forgot him when trouble beckoned.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN SCENE TWO
- GRUSHA with the child sets of to the NOTHERN MOUNTAINS. In trying to provide for the child, she realizes how expensive the products had become
- GRUSHA decides to drop the child at a peasant’s house and go away.
- GRUSHA hits the CORPORAL with a plank of wood before escaping with the child.
- GRUSHA risks both her life and that of the child by crossing a weak bridge.
QUESTIONS FROM IN SCENE TWO
- Explain GRUSHA VASHNADZE’s character traits.
- In your own opinion, what are some of the effects of a revolution?
- The CORPORAL outlines the code of conduct of the IRONSHIRTS, in your own words, what are some of the problems faced by police officials?
OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM SCENE TWO
- Love is a bond grown out of nothing whatsoever. It is the feeling of empathy and readiness to help regardless of the social class. This brings me to a question, What if GRUSHA was the governor’s wife and NATELLA was a peasant’s wife who had left the child behind, would GRUSHA have felt the same attraction?
SCENE ONE: THE NOBLE CHILD
The singer ARKADI performs the song. In his song, he tells a story of the Caucasian City where Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI was the richest Governor in the whole of Grusinia. He had so many soldiers, so many horses, so many beggars and so many petitioners at his gate.
On Easter Sunday, the Governor and His wife NATELLA and child MICHAEL attend the church service. NATELLA tries to draw the governor’s attention to the child’s wellbeing. From this we infer that, the governor loves his child more than the wife who tries too hard to show that she loves the child.
The FAT PRINCE sardonically welcomes the Governor but his mannerisms are such that one can read mischief in his demeanour and talk. There is unusually a large number of IRONSHIRTS in the yard than usual.
The Governor declines to receive any visitors until the service is over. Meanwhile, we are introduced to a soldier, SIMON SHASHAVA and a kitchen maid GRUSHA VASHNADZE. From the outset we learn that SIMON is interested in GRUSHA. Their conversation is petty and playful with a tinge of jealous on the side of SIMON.
The war breaks out and the Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI is assassinated. The FAT PRINCE takes over the leadership. NATELLA helped with the ADJUTANT is hurriedly fleeing the city. She does not want to leave her most expensive line behind. She commands her servants to take every precious thing to the carriage. She forgets about the baby. In her hurry, Michael is left behind.
GRUSHA VASHANADZE in the ensuing melee is engaged to SIMON SHASHAVA who gives her a silver ring to wear. SIMON leaves to join the war. GRUSHA finds the CHILD left alone. She is about to leave the child behind but something draws her back to the child.
Meanwhile, we are able to understand the impact of war on the common majority. One of the workers is so touched by the death of the Governor and wonders how the Governor’s wife feels. A YOUNG WOMAN comments, ‘They even have their weeping done for them’ referring to the governor’s wife who flees away not caring to mourn her late husband.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN SCENE ONE
1. The celebrations of Easter Sunday which brought out sharp contrast between the governor and his subjects.
2. Blossoming relationship between GRUSHA VASHNADZE and SIMON SHASHAVA which ends up in a betrothal.
3. The Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI is assassinated after a successful coup by the FAT PRINCE. His wife NATELLA ABASHWILI escapes leaving behind her child MICHAEL ABASHWILI.
4. GRUSHA VASHNADZE looks after the child left behind and thereafter leaves wuth the child.
QUESTIONS FROM SCENE ONE
1. Do you think it was justifiable to oust Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI out from power? Drawing the reasons from the scene explain.
2. A good mother is the one who sacrifices her all to bring up a child. Justify this statement drawing examples from scene one.
3. Explain three relevant themes that can be obtained from scene one.
4. Discuss the character of Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI
OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM SCENE ONE
1. The contrasts shown between Governor GEORGI ABASHWILI and his subjects brings out a leader who is egocentric and arrogant. He is ruthless in his leadership paying little attention to his subjects. The governor is presented as a man who only gives handouts to starving subjects not regarding the situation that so creates such impoverishment. He represents egocentric African dictators who bathe in wealth, own half of their country’s property and still engage in unscrupulous deals with the west drowning the impoverished countries in foreign debts while creating dumping sites in the name of Bilateral trade agreements. Such leaders Blanket subjects with petty promises and along the road handouts which amount to despondency.
2. NATELLA represents reckless mothers who before their husbands will pretend to love kids but when the husband looks the other was, they immediately forget about the child. During the grand entry to the church, she brought to the governor’s attention, the condition the child was in(he is coughing). During chaos, she only remembered her expensive jewellery and linen.