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In The Shadow of War (Discussion presentation)
Transcript of In The Shadow of War (Discussion presentation)
1. What things do you see in the story that represent Nigerian culture?
2. How does the setting portray the Nigerian way of life?
3. Discuss the appearance of the women and children in the caves; how does it depict Nigeria?
4. How does folklore influence Omovo's life?
5. Do you believe that the veiled woman was evil or simply victim to Nigerian superstition?
In your opinion, was Omovo falling victim to the "effects" of the eclipse or did he really see these events?
Subsequently, how does this reflect Nigeria?
Chickens and goats
Radio instead of television
Kobo (monetary unit)
Violent/Aggression towards women
Accents/manner of speaking
Religion/beliefs --> Prevails over logic
Discuss The Following:
Accumulation of trash --> Poverty
Remote --> More tribal existence
Portrayal of Nigerian life through setting
United States VS Nigeria
Treatment of women
Representation of culture through writing
"His father poured a libation at the doorway and then prayed to his ancestors."
"She wore faded wrappers and a gray shawl, with the black veil covering her face. She had a red basket on her head."
"A snake dropped from a branch and slithered through the undergrowth."
"He passed an empty cement factory; blocks lay crumbled in heaps and the workers' sheds were deserted."
"What is an eclipse?" Omovo asked
"That's when the world goes dark and strange things happen."
"The dead start to walk about and sing."
"Heclipses hate children. They eat them."
"Omovo, overcome with delirium began to tell his father what he had seen."
Omovo's Father <--
Portrayed as drunkards, violent, ignorant, and "fat"
"The Woman" <--
Mysterious and causes fear and aggression. Portrayed as evil, but brings food to malnourished women and children in the forest. *Abused by the soldiers.
Ben Okri brings Nigerian superstition and beliefs to his story. As it is also obvious he is not an advocate for war and is not fond of soldiers, the way he portrays them as lumbering, fat, idiots in this tale. You can also find some empathy for the cultural treatment of women.
Treatment of individuals that are different
Attitude towards children
Veil <-- Symbolizes mystery
Snake and animal skeletons <-- Foreshadowing of bad events
Message <-- Superstitions can cloud judgments and logic
Message <-- We are often intimidated by the unknown
Symbolism <-- Eclipse symbolizes the frightening unknown
Personification <-- "Beneath the sun's oppressive glare"
Basic Plot (Summary) <-- Omovo is a young boy who is told by his father about the upcoming eclipse. This instills terror into Omovo, who then discovers a mysterious veiled woman in the village. Omovo is then overcome by hysteria as he follows the woman and the soldiers into the woods and sees a menagerie of terror. He then flees home only to be told that he has been victim of false imagery. Or has he?
Discussion by Emily Kurth and Aleatha Saez