What is Lakunle's concern about the way Sidi is dressed in The Lion and the Jewel? What does this say about him?

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At the beginning of the play, Sidi is carrying a load of water on her head, which is the traditional way African women transport water. Lakunle runs out of the school when he sees Sidi walking by and carries on a conversation with her. Lakunle criticizes her for carrying the water on her head, saying it is "unwomanly." Lakunle then looks at Sidi's breasts and says that a grown woman must cover up. Lakunle tells Sidi every man in the village will cast their "lustful eyes" upon her when they have no business doing so. Sidi responds by telling Lakunle that she's already folded her garment high and tight because he continually bothers her about wearing revealing clothing. Lakunle then says,

"You could wear something. Most modest women do. But you, no. You must run around naked in the streets. Does it not worry you. . . the bad names, the lewd jokes, the tongue-licking noises which girls, uncovered like you, draw after them?" (Soyinka 3).

Lakunle's comments and criticism about Sidi's dress reveal he is a very conservative man who has a distaste for immodest women. It also reveals Lakunle's unconventional views towards traditional African attire. Lakunle openly supports Western ideas and culture, which is why he continually criticizes various African traditions regarding marriage, dress, and ways of life.

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