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The Setting Sun and the Rolling World

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Christy Laarakker

on 9 March 2015

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Transcript of The Setting Sun and the Rolling World

The Setting Sun and the Rolling World
The Theme
Every human being has the freedom to choose their own future, rather than remaining trapped in their family's culture and traditions.
Who is he?
The external conflict is Nhamo's father, Musoni. Nhamo desires to leave his homeland and start his own future, but Musoni does not want him to leave his home, family, and land. One of the key problems is that Nhamo does not see any future in his homeland because, as he says, '''The land is overworked and gives nothing now, father. And the family is almost broken up''' (Mungoshi 1). He no longer believes in charms and feels that ''things that belonged to his old world that were just lots of humbug on the mind, empty load, useless scrap'' (Mungoshi 3). There is no longer any reason to stay in his homeland. Also, Musoni is afraid for his son's safety. He does not want any harm to come to Nhamo and tries to convince him to stay saying, '''Think again. You will end dead''' (Mungoshi 1). Furthermore, Musoni has no knowledge of what the world has to offer and views what Nhamo sees as potential, as danger. In fact, he even believes that the plane is dangerous which is made clear when the author writes, ''He thought of the white metal bird and he felt remorse'' (Mungoshi 1).
Point of View
The point of view of ''The Setting Sun and the Rolling World'' is in second person. The fact that the narrator refers to characters in the story as ''you'' gives it a personal touch and makes the readers feel as if they are a part of the story. Through this point of view, the characters thoughts also seem very real because the words ''you'' and ''I'' are used. This reality of thoughts is needed, because the characters thoughts and feelings are what really expresses the theme, not the dialogue; for example, when Nhamo is really feeling frustration with his father, all he calmly says is, '''All. You have given me all, father''' (Mungoshi 2). Thanks to the second person view, though, the readers are given information about the characters real feelings, ''You are afraid of your own death'' (Mungoshi 2). The character's strong emotions are also emphasized by this point of view as both father and son retaliate against one another. Giving a greater knowledge of what the characters are really thinking and feeling, the second person view in this story is able to reach the very heart of the characters, also stirring sympathetic emotions of anger and frustration within the reader.
A short story analysis of:
''The Setting Sun and the Rolling World''
by Charles Mungoshi

Musoni's last-born son, Nhamo, desires to leave his home and family and go ''out into the world'' (Mungoshi 3). Musoni, though, does not want Nhamo to leave and is afraid that his son will be in great danger. Becoming free without obligations, Nhamo wants a chance to leave his old world behind and feels a need to choose his own future. Both Musoni and his son inwardly become frustrated with each other as they discuss Nhamo's desire. While Musoni tell Nhamo that there is no way out in the world '''except the way of the land, the way of the family''' (Mungoshi 3), Nhamo views his life differently and knows that the land is futile and that his family is falling apart. Finally, when no words of persuasion seem to work, Musoni does allow Nhamo to leave and tells Nhamo that he may always return to his homeland. Ecstatic that he has received his father's blessing, Nahmo decides to leave all of his family's beliefs and ties behind, except for the biological tie to his father. With this new freedom, Nahmo feels a surge of power as he anticipates leaving his homeland; however, his father sees a dark and dangerous future ahead.
The Plot
Musoni then starts to ask Nhamo many questions which Nhamo answers confidently. These questions, combined with the answers, are significant because they prove that Musoni deeply doubts Nhamo's decision, but that Nhamo is determined and sure of himself. The reader also discovers through these questions and answers what troubles Muoni and what Nhamo's decision is.
Both the father and son have thoughts, feelings, and answers that they do not share and, after their thoughts, the statement is repeatedly made ''But all he said was...'' (Mungoshi 1). While they throw out answers in their minds, Musoni becomes angry several times, ''The old man felt himself getting angry again'' (Mungoshi 1) and Nhamo also becomes frustrated, ''his pent-up fury rolled through him'' (Mungoshi 1).
Reaching the climax
Finally, Musoni becomes tired and gives into his son which proves that he is truly an ''old man'' (Mungoshi 2). Not only that, but this point in the plot shows that it is impossible to stop someone from reaching for the hope of their own life and future.
What a wonderful World!
Musoni then instructs Nhamo to go see a charm doctor before he leaves to give him strength (Mungoshi 3). Nhamo knows, though, that he will just burn all the charms because he is falling away from the tradition his family has been stuck in. He is leaving ''home and its sickening environment'' (Mungoshi 3) to be a man who stands on his own, not standing on the feet of anyone else. This section of the plot is very important, because the author shares an important lesson of the freedom of choice for your own future. Nhamo is like the sun that has power to shine and burn (Mungoshi 3), but his family is trapped, never discovering the mystery that causes them to destroy themselves; his family will never experience the freedom that Nhamo now has, the freedom in this wonderful world to live out your own future.
In the beginning of the story , Musoni is plowing his dusty field and looks up to see a white speck in the sky. While he is wishing for rain, his son, Nhamo approaches him and Musoni begins to discuss his present concern with Nhamo. The beginning of the plot introduces the reader to the characters and the setting of the story. With the information given, such as the longing ''for rain and relief'' (Mungoshi 1) and ''the unchanging stony earth''(Mungoshi 1), the reader understands that times are hard. Through the phrase ''unchanging stony earth'' (Mungoshi 1) it is also understood that Musoni's land does not change. There is also the presentation of anticipation and curiosity while readers wonder what the ''tiny white speck'' (Mugoshi 1) is and what Musoni is bothered about.
Father versus Son
Clearly, through reading the true thoughts of the father and son and then reading what they actually share with each other, both the father and son have very strong opinions and feelings that differ immensely. The anger of Musoni shows his loyalty to his land and ancestors and Nhamo's frustration proves that he feels the opposite and wants change; he wants a life of his own.
Musoni: ''But nothing is more certain to hold you together than the land, and a home, a family'' (Mungoshi 1).
Nhamo: ''You have given me damn all and nothing'' (Mungoshi 2).
The conversation continues between the father and son and things are thought, but not all is said. Through this continual thought process of the two people, the readers are made aware that Musoni is very set in his traditional ways, but Nhamo wants to set off on his own journey to become free from these enslaving bonds of family tradition and culture.
Left Behind
Still Trapped
Finally, at the end of the plot, Musoni does not watch his son leave, but instead contemplates on how he will go visit the charm doctor and please any ancestors that need pleasing. Even though his son is leaving, he still wants him to be a part of his family's world and would ask the charm doctor ''to throw bones over the future of his son'' (Mungoshi 3). This is such a vital part of the story, because it emphasizes how truly trapped Munonsi is in, not his own future, but the future of those who went before him.
2 inches of freedom
3 inches of freedom
Your own future
4 inches of freedom
1 inch of freedom
No freedom
Musoni refers to the conversation between him and his son to an animal's water ground with Musoni and Nhamo as the animals; ''Going over the same ground like animals at a drinking place until, like animals, they had driven the water far deep into the stony earth'' (Mungoshi 2). This literary device is used to support the fact that no words can convince Nhamo from making the choice to follow his own future.
When Nhamo thinks about what his father has given him, he says to himself, '' You have given me damn all and nothing'' (Mungoshi 2). First he says that his father has given him all, and then ends to say that he has given him nothing. This illustrates how, although his father may have provided for him with things like education and food, it all amounts to nothing in the end if he has no meaning to his future.
One particular motif used is a plane. The plane is mentioned three times; twice by Musoni and once by Nhamo. Musoni has no clue what ''The white speck'' (Mungoshi 1) is in the sky. Although he has no clue what it is, it is still there, he just does not realize the potential of it so he fears it. Nhamo, though, knows exactly what the white speck is and the potential it has.
Two words are mentioned frequently on the first page of ''The Setting Sun and the Rolling World'': ''way out'' (Mungoshi 1). This repetition is used to emphasize that Nhamo and his family are in a trap which he can only break free from if he chooses his own future. ''I am convinced this is the only way out'' (Mungoshi 1), Nhamo says; he does not just use the two words here, but in other places as well, as he explains to his father that he must choose his own journey.
Nhamo refers himself as ''the sun, burning itself out every second and shedding tons of energy which it held in its power, giving it the thrust to drag its brood wherever it wanted to'' (Mungoshi 3). Through this metaphor, Nhamo rejoices in his freedom and sees the power, ability, and excitement that comes from making your own choices about your future life.
What will he do with education if he can not apply it to his life?
Nhamo is a very determined character which he conveys through what he does and says such as, ''I have thought everything over, father, I am convinced this is the only way out'' (Mungoshi 1). He reveals his determination through his actions because he does not give in to his father, but stands firm in his decision. Nhamo is also ambitious , which is a character trait his father does not necessarily appreciate when he states, ''Do you know, young bright ambitious son of my lions, the ruins of time and the pains of old age?'' (Mungoshi 3). Here his father also lists another one of Nhamo's character traits: he is bright. Not only is he bright, he also is a joyous boy, as Nhamo describes himself when he says he is, ''easily lighthearted'' (Mungoshi 3). Another character trait that is very helpful, especially in his situation, is self-control. This self-control is shown to the readers through the way he holds back the ''pent-up fury'' (Mungoshi 2) that he was feeling as he talked to his father. Instead, he chooses to be self-controlled and speaks to his father in a respectful manner saying, ''Really, father, have no fear for me'' (Mungoshi 2). Finally, he is caring, which is shown through what Nhamo feels. Even though Nhamo disagrees with his father, he still feels ''a great love for his father'' (Mungoshi 3). Through Nhamo's actions, words, thoughts, feelings and because of what his father says, thinks, and feels towards him, it is easy to determine Nhamo's many character traits.
He is just a stick figure, but have no fear. Nhamo has a character profile.
Analysis by Christy Laarakker
The Result
Musoni finally gives Nhamo consent to leave, which makes Nhamo ecstatic. However, while Nhamo makes the choice to set out to create his own future, Musoni stays locked in the old world of his ancestors, afraid of what he does not know.
''The Setting Sun...
...and the Rolling World
Musoni is like the setting sun. The sun disappears at the end of each day in life, just as he and his family's futures have all ended in the same way. Nhamo, though, is like the rolling world. The rotation of the earth causes each place to have its own different sunset, just as he sees the need for a different, chosen future of his own. While Musoni focuses on the small everyday, Nhamo sees the bigger picture that causes the small everyday; the rolling world. Each person needs a different sunset, a different future.
Your World
By Georgia Douglas Johnson
Your world is as big as you make it.
I know, for I used to abide
In the narrowest nest in a corner
My wings pressing close to my side.

But I sighted the distant horizon
Where the skyline encircled the sea
And I throbbed with a burning desire
To travel this immensity

I battered the cordons around me
And cradled my wings on the breeze,
With rapture, with power, with ease!

''Your World''

because it expresses the fact that humans have the freedom to choose their own worlds, or as ''The Setting Sun and the Rolling World'' puts it, humans have the freedom to choose their own futures. Just as Nhamo was trapped in the old world of his homeland, so the speaker lived in a corner. Both Nhamo and the speaker made the choice to spread their wings, and while the speaker of the poem ''soared to the uttermost reaches / with rapture, with power, with ease'' (Johnson, 11-12), Nhamo floated ''with the fiery balls'' (Mungoshi 3), also with a feeling of power and freedom.
is an excellent echo
Works Cited
Midnight TV, Round. ''Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World
(Spoken Intro Version) 1970.'' , 13 Sept. 2011. Web. 6 Nov. 2013.
You Tube
''Charles Mungoshi: 'It is the Old Story isn't it?'''
The Nordic Africa
Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, 2003. Web. 7
Johnson, Georgia Douglas. ''Your World.''
Poetry Foundation.
Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
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