Amusa Sango is as much a viewfinder as a character, one who provides opportunities for the author to reveal scenes of urban discord, political opportunism, and interracial tensions. His playboy nightlife reveals the plight of single girls attracted to the city, away from the values of the countryside. While some degree of empathy with Sango is maintained because of his essential self-honesty and the pathos of his decline, he is delineated crudely and somewhat inconsistently. Except for his behavior toward Aina, explained by his all-consuming ambition, he behaves well throughout the novel, offering help to those who need it when he can supply it. Yet he fails to develop through his experiences. Even when he reports on coal miners’ riots in eastern Nigeria and the political consequences for the nation’s movement toward independence, he remains personally detached from the nationalist spirit of the masses he observes. He is constantly aware of his own shortcomings but does nothing about them. Sango’s function in the novel is primarily that of a reporter: His personality is subordinate to the point of view from which he reports.
Vagueness inhibits the other characters as well. Motivation beyond basic needs is seldom seen, and to satisfy such needs many of the characters are involved in the criminal underworld of the city. Lajide, the wealthiest character in both wives (eight) and real estate, is seen to be totally unscrupulous: He drinks himself to...
(The entire section is 452 words.)