What are the flashbacks in The Lion and the Jewel? What do they tell the audience?

Expert Answers

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

There are a couple flashbacks throughout the play The Lion and the Jewel. The first flashback takes place during "the dance of the lost traveler." The flashback tells the audience the story of how a foreign photographer gets lost in the jungle after his car breaks down. The lost traveler spots Sidi bathing naked in a pool and begins to take pictures of her until he is discovered. The villagers are angry with the foreigner and lead him to the Bale. However, Baroka is hospitable towards the lost traveler, holds a feast in his honor, and allows him to take numerous photos of Sidi. This flashback demonstrates Baroka's cleverness and shares the story of how Sidi's images came to be in a popular magazine.

Another flashback takes place in the second scene of the play entitled "Noon." Lakunle tells the story of how Baroka foiled a Public Works project by bribing the surveyor. The surveyor and his workers began building a railway that would travel through the village of Ilujinle. One day, Baroka arrives at the construction site with a beautiful girl holding a calabash bowl full of money and kola nuts. Baroka then gives the surveyor more money, a coop of hens, and a goat. The surveyor accepts Baroka's bride and stops the construction of the railway under the pretense that the ground is unsuitable to hold the weight of the railway engine. This flashback again demonstrates Baroka's cleverness and also depicts his support to maintain traditional ways of life.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial