The Lion and the Jewel Questions and Answers
by Wole Soyinka

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Discuss the theme of culture conflict in The Lion and the Jewel.

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The conflicts between cultures in Ilujinle are mainly concerned with the various characters' adherence to or rejection of the traditional Yoruba ways. One of the things that Wole Soyinka imparts is that these conflicts rarely follow clearly drawn lines. Gendered power is one important area where considerable variation appears. While the more "modern" man, Lakunle, sees his attitude toward women and marriage as more progressive than that of Baroka, the old chief, and the villagers in general, the female characters do not necessarily agree.

Eager to marry Sidi, the young schoolmaster Lakunle pursues her with flattery, or so he thinks. But she sees that he is criticizing her for following their culture, including the clothes she wears. His claim that he wants to marry her is considerably weakened when he cannot or will not pay the bride price—an amount owed to her family to help them compensate for the loss of her valued labor and contributions. Sidi sees that he does not value her and...

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