Themes and Meanings

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Healing has the lofty and worthy aim of achieving black unity, which would allow a healthy society and all of its members to flourish in an environment of mutual respect and fulfillment. Damfo assumes the realization of such a development to be far in the future, but he recognizes that seeds of its attainment must be sown persistently and nurtured by each generation.

Early in the novel, Densu recognizes two groups in the world around him: inspirers and manipulators. He sees many manipulators (Ababio is a blatant one), and he dislikes them; he sees few inspirers (Damfo is a refreshing one), and these he loves. The methods of the manipulators—force, fraud, deceit—grow increasingly abhorrent to Densu. The inspirers, through the use of their healing and creative efforts, offer him a welcome alternative. The health of the present and future of black people is something Densu can advance by serving as a healer.

There is considerable disunity in the times. Disunity within the individual is illustrated in the cases of Araba Jesiwa and Asamoa Nkwanta, both of whom are healed. Also apparent is large-scale group disunity of the people who are scattered in mind as well as geographically. Rulers, for whom the welfare of the society should be paramount, become lost and destructive in their jealous greed for power. There is danger from within the society when loss of mutual regard occurs and when foreign oppressors are able to take advantage of and further promote disunity among blacks.