Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 171
Ake, by Wole Soyinka, is the story of the village in Nigeria where Soyinka grew up. Although he has not been to Ake for many years, his descriptions of the market are vivid and colorful. Soyinka fondly recalls the varied sensory experiences at the market, especially of the old women of the village making savory treats. The main characters in Soyinka's young life are his parents, who he refers to as "Wild Christian" (mother) and "Essay" (father) and to whom he dedicates this memoir. He is quite close to his father's father, who schools the young boy in the rituals and beliefs of the Yoruba people. The village elders are also crucial characters in the story and of course to the village itself. Perhaps even more important, however, are the characters known as "egungun," spirit ancestors who personify the eternal presence of relatives and elders from long ago. Although the egungun only appear after a specific ritual is performed, their dynamic presence permeates the town of Ake and influences everyone there.