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The Setting Son and the Rolling World

a conflict of wills- father and son

Venetia Stephen

on 28 November 2012

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Transcript of The Setting Son and the Rolling World

Summary “The Setting Sun and the Rolling World” by Charles Mungoshi
is a story of love, anger, self-confidence, but most of all
youthful adventure, a journey into the unknown. Old Musoni feels the need to protect his young son
from the danger of the outside world. He lives in the
solitary bubble of his home, and he wishes the same of his son.
Young Nhamo, full of passion and excitement, refuses to
submit himself to a lifetime of harrowing the dead ground. The month -long struggle ends with the son
venturing out in long- awaited freedom,
his father left in sorrow and regret.
While Musoni is content living in the safe
confines of his land, Nhamo believes his future
lies outside- outside in the great big world. Plot EXPOSITION: The last remains of the setting sun shine on rolling hills. Musoni, the father, works the dry ground. His son, Nhamo, makes his way towards his father, hoping to win his freedom. RISING ACTION: Musoni believes his son will surely be harmed if he ventures out. Nhamo knows his future lies outside of the broken family and farm. He is absolutely sure of himself. CLIMAX: The clash of wills between the father and the son heats up. They both try to suppress their sudden feelings of anger. There is only one way this conflict can end. One of them has to give in. RISING ACTION: Musoni tries again to convince his son and he even tries to scare him out of it. His attempts do not seem to be working, as usual. The Setting Sun and the Rolling World by Charles Mungoshi RESOLUTION: Tired after a two month battle with Nhamo, Musoni sends his son with a blessing and a promise of a home to return to. Theme The dominant theme in Mungoshi's short story
is that one person's idea of happiness can be someone else's dungeon. Point of View The author uses hyperbole in the father's speech. Musoni does not have much experience in the outside world, and he has a very vague idea of how the rest of the world runs. To convince his strong-headed son, Musoni exaggerates and gives an inaccurate description of the world outside. He believes that everything out there is treacherous and deceiving, as the "false honey bird that leads you the whole day through the forest to a snake's nest." In fact, Musoni's view of his own son, Nhamo, is a hyperbole. He thinks his son is: "a mere beardless kid with milk not yet dry on your baby nose." The author uses hyperbole to show that those who have a negative view of something usually exaggerate and try to convince others that way. Hyperbole Imagery Charles Mungoshi uses imagery in his short story to engage readers and make the story more expressive. The father believes that if Nhamo ventures out into the world, this would be the description of his life: “A homeless, nameless vagabond living on dust and rat’s droppings, living on thank-yous, sleeping up a tree or down a ditch, in the rain, in the sun, in the cold, with nobody to see you, nobody to talk to, nobody at all to tell your dreams to.” This vivid description can easily be pictured in the reader’s mind: a lonely beggar on the roadside. But Nhamo calls it freedom. He believes he has the strength in him to be successful. Unlike his father, Nhamo thinks of farm life as “a slow dance of death” with his father. The author’s use of imagery explicitly demonstrates differing points of view. Metaphor The author’s use of metaphor also plays a role in the development of the theme. Musoni believes that his farm is the safest place for his son to be. But then he admits: “True, the family tree is uprooted and it dries in the sun.” In his referral to his family tree, he means his family members. Musoni acknowledges the fact he had a broken up family. Like the farm, the family was slowly dying away. The use of this metaphor demonstrates differing points of view in that one person will chose to live with disadvantages and look at the benefits while the other person focuses on the drawbacks. Character Sketch The protagonist in this story is Musoni, the father. He is reclusive, preferring to stay within the boundaries of his land. Adventure holds no excitement for him. Musoni prefers to till the ground and earn his keep by the sweat of his back. He holds a pessimistic view of the world outside. Musoni prefers to stick with the old things, unlike his son who embraces change. But the old man is not completely immune to passion. When Nhamo asks his father for his prayer, the author uses imagery to depict a beautiful scene: "There was a spark in the old man’s eyes at these words of his son. But just as dust quickly settles over a glittering pebble revealed by the hoe, so a murkiness hid the gleam in the old man’s eye." The author’s use of imagery combined with a metaphor lets readers glimpse a spark in the seemingly reclusive father. Conflict Hope is an important theme in this story: Conflict with nature Musoni's conflict with nature is evident in his farm. The conflict was caused by the lack of rain, the seemingly hopeless drought. The land is stony and dry and he has to work hard amidst the setting sun. But against these odds, he hopes. He is willing to stay on his farm and work the land until it yeilds. Musoni is purposed to win the battle against nature. Conflict between father and son The conflict between Musoni and Nhamo started out with the son's desire for freedom. Just like any father would, Musoni didn't like the idea. A weary two month conflict led to an important decision. Tired and drained out, the father finally gave up. Nhamo won the fight because he had hope, which led him to persevere. Musoni had hope too, but in a different way. He had a hope that some day his prodigal son would return. So- although with a heavy heart- Musoni bade his son farewell with a blessing and a promise of a place to call home. Conflict within The most intense of the conflicts, Musoni's internal conflict lays on him the decision of keeping his son a prisoner in his own home or letting him go. The conflict started with his son's request to leave home. He feels he has a duty towards his son to keep him from the danger that will pounce on him. But Nhamo's constant prodding has weakened his father's resolve. In this final conflict between father and son, Musoni has already let go of his son in his mind and tries not to lose his temper with Nhamo."If his son was going away, he must not be angry.It would be equal to a curse." Musoni's internal conflict has already been resolved, although he tries one last time to convince his son to stay. But his son's mind is firm, so Musoni let's him go. He still has hope for his son, and he commits himself to the spiritual side of things: throwing bones over his son's future and praying to the ancestors. Point of view Charles Mungoshi uses third person omniscient point of view in his short story. The author reveals what's going on in the minds of both the father and the son. By using third person omniscient point of view, the author allows readers to understand both members in the story and choose sides in the argument. Most of the story is told from the minds of both the father and the son. The words exchanged between the father and son alone would not have provided enough information to readers. The story would be bland and uninteresting. Third person omniscient point of view builds the theme of the importance of point of view. Readers can realize how differrent two people's views of the same situation can be. It also builds on the theme of hope and the importance of perseverance. If Mungoshi had used first person point of view, readers would have gotten information about the antagonist. They would only see the conflict through the eyes of one person. The usage of second person point of view would have been quite useless in this occassion because this story has almost no connection to readers. It is mostly focused on the father and son. If Mungoshi had used third person limited point of view, the story would not have its full effect because the reader would not know both sides of the conflict. Title significance The title "The Setting Sun and the Rolling World" is very significant in the story. The "setting sun" refers to the swiftness of time. To Musoni, time means the swift growth of his son, whom he still views as a little child with milk on his nose. It also refers to his dying farm and the long absence of rain. Musoni works his dusty land from the rising of the sun to its setting. The "rolling world" means many things. One meaning is the vastness of the world, the great adventure awaiting Nhamo. It can also mean consistency. Regardless of what happens to its inhabitants, the earth still rotates at a constant speed. No matter what the outcome of the conflict is between Musoni and his son, Nhamo, the earth will remain steady in its orbit. Echo The End! farmland... road to the city...
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