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African Literature



The two short stories "In the Cutting of a Drink" and "The Return" bring different responses from me. "In the Cutting of a Drink" makes me think about what it would be like to go into a new culture. It also makes me think about the decline in moral values now days. "The Return" reminds me to be more thankful for the many things I take for granted. It also makes me think about how hard it can be to cope with change. In the poem "Those Rainy Mornings" I am reminded of my grandma and what a kind, loving, wonderful person she is.
In Frank Chipasula's poem "Those Rainy Mornings" the speaker is talking about his aunt Gwalanthi. The speaker tells us what a wonderful loving person his aunt is. In the first section the speaker tells us how his aunt would wake up at the crack of dawn and build a fire. Then she would begin cooking porridge. In the second section of the poem the speaker talks about waking up "out of the nagging nightmare." Then the speaker describes his aunt a little bit more, "her soft but husky call." In the last section the speaker talks about how kind his aunt is to take care of his brothers and sisters while his parents "strayed to the copper mines."
This poem makes me think about my grandma and all the wonderful things she has done for me. The speakers aunt is an old fragile woman, "hoe-broken palms" and "scrawny ribs." But she is also a very hard worker and loving person. Both these things remind me of my grandma. My grandma may be old and fragile but she is still a very hard working and loving person. My grandma is always up at first light doing household chores or working in her garden. Many times we have to force her to go inside, so she won't be exposed to the hot sun for to long. I can't count the number of times my grandma has made my bed, folded our clothes, washed our dishes, or done various other household chores for me and my family. I could never fully repay my grandma for all the wonderful things she has done. My grandma, like aunt Gwalanthi, is a very kind, hard working person.
Ama Ata Aidoo's "In the Cutting of a Drink" is about a person relating his story of looking for his lost sister in a big city called Mamprobi. The narrator, Mansa's brother, is talking to his uncles in the story. He is telling them about the things he experienced in the city while looking for Mansa. The narrator is from the country, so a lot of the city life is new or shocking to him. The narrator and Duayaw, the person helping him find his sister, go to a nightclub while looking for Mansa. This is a very new experience for the narrator. Some new things he experiences are dancing and watching women buy beer. But the most shocking thing is when he finds out his sister Mansa works there. "Young woman, is this the work you do?" he asked her. In the end Mansa's reply was, "any kind of work is work."
This story made me think of a couple of things, differences in cultures or places and a decline in moral values. When the narrator goes to the city he is in a totally new culture. Many of the things he sees done are shocking to him. "I sat with my mouth open and watched the daughter of a woman cut beer like a man." "I cannot describe how they danced." Going into a new culture would have to be a shocking experience for anyone. The comment "any for of work is work" made by Mansa makes me think about the decline in moral values. Now days many people seem to go by this saying. People seem to not care about what form of work they are doing as long as they make money. Some factors to consider when doing a job are, is what you are doing morally right or ethical, and is what you are doing legal or illegal. Would you want your husband or wife to go to work as a prostitute? Or would you want them to go to work as a female or male stripper? I would hope not in both cases, the first simply because it is illegal. The second because it is pornography and I think you should have enough respect for your spouse to not want them to do that kind of work. So the comment "any form of work is work" is not a way to go about finding a job.
"The Return" by Ngugi wa Thiong'o is about a man named Kamau who returns home after being in a detention camp for five years. He hopes to see his old village exactly the same. Instead he finds it now ruled by the British. The British have changed the village and its culture. Worst of all, Kamau's wife Muthoni left with another man named Karanja. Muthoni did this because Karanja lied and told the village that Kamau had died. At the end of the story Kamau lets a small bundle, filled with things that reminded him of Muthoni, roll down a bank and float down the river. Then he talks about the relief he felt after this happened. "Why should she have waited for me? Why should all the changes have waited for my return?"
These comments make me think about change and how hard it can be to cope with change. It also made me be more thankful for some of the things I take for granted. When Kamau returned home he basically returned home to a completely new village. His family had aged, many people didn't recognize him, and his wife was gone. This was very hard for Kamau to cope with, "the old village had not even waited for him." Kamau felt resentful and angry. I know I would have the same resentful feelings as Kamau if I were put in the same situation. I would feel cheated if I came home one day only to find it completely changed. Many time I find myself taking my friends, family, home, or security for granted. Sometimes I don't realize how important these things are in my life. I know if they were taken away or completely changed, I would be devastated. I would not be able to get over it as fast as Kamau. After reading this story I am more thankful for the many things I take for granted.
All three of these readings bring out different responses from me. My grandma is the person I think about in the poem "Those Rainy Mornings." I am reminded of all the wonderful things she does for me and my family. In the story "In the Cutting of a Drink" I think about the decline in moral values these days. I also think about the what it would be like to go into a whole new culture. After reading the story "The Return" I am more thankful for the things that I take for granted. The story also makes me think about change and how hard it can be to cope with change.



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