Summary (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)
In his desire to do justice to his tale, the narrator, the “story-teller,” of the events of the novel, invokes the arts of eloquence from a long-revered tradition of African masters of narrative. Convinced of the urgency and importance of his tale, the narrator must remind himself, through the invocations, that discipline in storytelling is a paramount factor that he must not forget. The main task of the narrator is to show how the events of the twentieth year in the life of the protagonist, Densu, serve to illustrate aspects of the larger society. There is a focus on a specific historical time, during which critical changes occurred as a result of internal political and spiritual conflicts exacerbated by British colonial incursions into the Asante empire.
The novel opens with the notation that a brutal murder has occurred and that the protagonist, Densu, is involved in this event. Murdered is Appia, the crown prince of Esuano, and also believed murdered is his missing mother, Araba Jesiwa. The action flashes back to the period just prior to the murder, the festival season of the chosen-year ceremonial games of competition in the town of Esuano. Densu and his age-group, young men passing into manhood, compete in several athletic and mental skills. In the past, these games were regarded as cooperative rituals of wholeness. Now, however, the festivals have a strong emphasis on individual competition, which Densu believes promotes fragmentation and...
(The entire section is 924 words.)
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