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Subject: Literature In English
Topic: Summary Analysis of the Novel “Blood of A Stranger” Raymond Dele-Charley.
Lesson Objectives: This lesson is aimed at helping learners understand the novel “Blood of A Stranger”. So by the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:
1. In few sentences describe the author;
2. Identify and write about setting of the novel;
3. Narrate the plot of the novel;
4. Identify and discuss the themes in the novel;
5. Narrate the plot of the novel.
Learning Aids: See Reference materials below lesson content.
Lesson Summary / Discussions
Note: This is just summary of the novel for instruction purpose and does not cover all contents. As students preparing for exams, we always advise not to depend on this alone but get a copy of the book from bookshops for detailed study
The Blood of A Stranger: Summary And Complete Study Guide
The Blood of A Stranger is a drama written by a Sierra Leonia writer and playwright, Raymond Dele-Charley. This performance was performed at the 1977 Festival of Arts and ethos (FESTAC) and won an decoration for the preeminent play.
Background of the play
Arguably, there are two types of citizens in very nation. These are the “patriotic” and those who can easily trade their countries for petty gifts. Dele Charley’s The Blood of a Stranger projects these two kinds of people as it successfully demonstrates the evils of the African colonial encounter with the West, without presenting the colonized as mere victims.
Soko is the chief priest of Mando land whose words are considered as the words of the gods and the ancestors. Hence, Mando people believe his words to be true. Contrarily, he takes the opportunity to deceive the land with selfish lies. He tells them that he sleeps in the sacred ancient cave, but, he secretly gets out of the cave in the night to have a rest in a beautiful hut in the bush. He also lies about the coming of the white man, saying that it is ordained by the gods as his coming will bring good fortune to the land. This he connives with Maligu to deceive the people because of the money the Whiteman promises.
Soko represents an African agent who assists the colonial masters in the exploitation of African natural resources.
Here is the son of king Santigi of Mando and the Chief Warrior of the land. He is the only one who can read in Mando land apart from Maligu the traitor. He stands against the coming of the Whiteman even when Soko has prophesied otherwise. He naturally hates Maligu because his instincts believes that Maligu is a traitor. He also doubts the spiritual competence of Soko since he notices that Soko does not sleep in the cave as he (Soko) claims.
He has a brave heart, fearless and ever ready to defend his people against any kind of tyranny. He symbolizes those who stands against the tyranny of the colonial masters and their Trojan gifts. He fights against exploitation and relegation/disrespect of the African culture.
Maligu is the King’s chief adviser who supports the coming of the White stranger. He went ahead to blackmail Soko to misinform the people that the coming of the Whiteman will bring good fortune and not trouble.
A greedy fellow who wants to get rich quick. He wrongly advices the King just to arrive at his selfish needs. He is not in any way reliable. He betrays the king’s trust by bringing in a stranger to come and tap into their natural resources wrongly. He deceives everyone including the Whiteman himself.
Maligu represents the greedy African who supports the exploitation of Africa and her dehumanization, just to have a large pocket.
This is the King of Mando land and the Father of Prince Kindo. As a king he has it at heart to lead his people into no troubles after the communal war ended. But he is blinded by the trust he places on Soko and Maligu.
He is a stringent King who believes in the dictates of the tradition and the custom of the people to the extent of sending his own son into exile for killing a man.
He represents African leaders who fall prey to the deceptions of their greedy subordinates.
Here is the white stranger who came with trouble. Through the help of Maligu and Soko he enters Mando land with the motive of doing away with their diamonds. This devilish motive he covers under the guise of farming tobacco.
Wicked and very manipulative. He offers tobacco to most of the people to keep them intoxicated so as to keep their mind away from his real mission. Whitehead trusts no one, including Maligu. This explains why he did not tell Maligu his plans initially. In fact, lack of trust and act of wickedness led him into killing Parker, his right hand man.
He represents the Whiteman whose interest is only on the exploitation of the African land.
This is the palace guard that aids Kindo in some activities.
Wara is Kindo’s secret lover whose Mando citizenship is in question. She is made to run away from the land by Soko after drugging her with tobacco, kidnapping her, and giving her to Whitehead as a sex machine so that Kindo will not find out what happened to her.
Maligu and Soko earlier on planned to use her for the cleansing sacrifice before she escapes as Soko advises her to do so.
Parker is a black man and is more like Whitehead’s secretary and messenger. He helps in the arrival of whitehead and the dissemination of relevant information that will accelerate the achievement of the Whiteman’s plan.
- Patriotism and resistance to oppression
Kindo’s patriotic zeal saves the village of Mando from the vicious hands of Whitehead. When Whitehead refuses to accord King Santigi the respect he deserves, it is Kindo who restores it by putting Whitehead and his aide, Parker, where they truly belong — beneath the King’s feet.
The marketers of this theme are Whitehead, Maligu and Soko. The sole aim of these characters is to get rich at all costs. While Whitehead comes to the village of Mando with dubious intent to cart the people’s diamond away and become very rich, Maligu and Soko connive with Whitehead to carry out his intention and also get rich in the process. The theme of greed becomes evident when they begin to distrust one another and deplore strategies to eliminate each other to have a bigger part (if not all the parts) of the diamond wealth.
- The arrogance of the colonial masters
This is projected through the character of Whitehead. The claim that Whitehead is arrogant is an obvious fact. And this is why he refuses to pay homage to King Santigi until Kindo forces him to do so. This is reflective of colonial arrogance in history. The colonial masters did not only exploit the African soil but also engage Africans in service labour. This is portrayed in the play with Whitehead engaging the people to pick the diamond pebbles for him for pittance. It is also a show of arrogance that makes Whitehead introduce gin spirit drink in place of the people’s local drink, mampama . Symbolically, Whitehead tries to impose his culture on the people instead of embracing the people’s culture.
Other themes in the play are:
- Deceit and trickery
- The role of African leaders in aiding colonialism. This is projected through the characters of Maligu and Soko.
- Justice always prevails over oppression. Of course this is seen in the end of the play.
The Blood of a Stranger has linear plot structure and is very straightforward. It is simple and easy to follow and understand. The play is full of literary expressions such as personification (e.g., “the night grows old), metaphor (e.g., ” Maligu is drunk in his books”), simile (e.g., Kindo is as willy as a monkey) etc.
The language of the play is simple. It is a mixture of Modern English and street language. The language used also reflects the characters’ societal statuses. As a King, King Santigi’s language is elevated and laced with wisdom and sometimes proverbs.
Its locality is the village of Mando, from the past Sierra Leone during the colonial era. The joke about is a tragedy with a linear plot structure.
This represents the naughty authority of western culture. Whitehead attempts to rape Wara, Kindo’s female but his strategy fails. This represents the rape of Sierra Leone’s (and really Africa’s) abundant possessions by the British (and other colonialists) during the regal and pre-colonial era.
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