In Barracoon, what initiations did Cudjo undergo in Africa?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

According to the traditional conventions of his tribe, Cudjo must undergo certain initiation ceremonies as part of his transition to manhood. It is expected that Cudjo will one day become a brave hunter and warrior, so at the age of fourteen, he starts learning how to track and hunt animals,...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

According to the traditional conventions of his tribe, Cudjo must undergo certain initiation ceremonies as part of his transition to manhood. It is expected that Cudjo will one day become a brave hunter and warrior, so at the age of fourteen, he starts learning how to track and hunt animals, set up camp, and use a bow and arrow and spears to defend the village from attack by rival tribes. Cudjo's also inducted into oro, a secret male Yoruba society whose role is to police and control the community.

One day, Cudjo spots a pretty young woman walking through the market place. As is customary, he shows his interest by following her without saying anything. A friend of his father sees this and tells him that his son is now ready for a banquet to be thrown in his honor to celebrate his transition to manhood. On the day of the banquet, Cudjo goes to the initiation house, where the men of the village play special instruments that women are not allowed to hear (otherwise, it is believed, they will die). Cudjo is allowed to share in the special meal, but he must remain silent out of respect for his elders. At the banquet, the young man is presented with a peacock feather, which symbolizes his formal initiation into the world of adult men.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team