Briefly discuss one of the main characters from "Sankofa."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that I was most intrigued with the Mona/ Shola character.  Mona is a modern woman.  Even though she is a woman of color, she has entered a world of modeling in which race and ethnicity are subjugated for fashion and "sex."  When the photographer is shooting pictures of her, there is no longer an understanding of the past of ethnicity or racial identity.  There is only the present and being able to capitalize on the sensuous feel of the moment. 

Mona's transporting back in time to Shola, one of her ancestors who was enslaved, helps her realize that one cannot ever fully escape her own racial identity.  For Mona/ Shola, being able to understand the predicament of slavery and "claim" her own past is an essential part of her characterization.  In being able to reclaim her past, activate her voice within it, and understand that she is more than her present and part of something larger that should guide it, Mona/ Shola becomes a very compelling and unique character.