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The custom of hospitality between certain characters, as seen in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, is a timeless motif presented in literature throughout the world. It is intertwined with the concept of good versus evil

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Introduction

Jason Dondero English 1B 2/16/2006 Hospitality: A Custom of Epic Proportions The custom of hospitality between certain characters, as seen in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, is a timeless motif presented in literature throughout the world. It is intertwined with the concept of good versus evil, where the act of hospitality to assist the good to overtake the evil, will prevail, and hence the hero is born. Those who contribute to the cause of the good, are rewarded for their hospitality toward the main character, now turned heroic legend, Sundiata. The presence and benefits of hospitality among the characters involved directly and indirectly in Sundiata's life shape the very events of Sundiata's own past, present, and future. These combinations transform Sundiata into the heroic legend that he will be known for, for centuries to come. Thanks to the griot, the storyteller, he is able to bring the legendary story of Sundiata to life. The story begins with Sundiata's past. As the griot conveys the story of the hunters, "We were advancing warily, our eyes well skinned, when we saw an old woman by the side of the river. ...read more.

Middle

Under your orders I went on my first campaign. I shall never be able to thank you for so much kindness. However, my mother is dead; but I am now a man and I must return to Mali to claim the kingdom of my fathers. Oh king, I give you back the powers you conferred upon me, and I ask leave to depart. In any case, allow me to bury my mother before I go" (46). This is a very major turning point in Sundiata's life as becoming a man and a future king. The king mistakes Sundiata's request for the burial of his mother and his leaving Mema as an insult and ungratefulness to the hospitality the king has given Sundiata. Sundiata in turn changes his normal attitude of humbleness into that of an indirect threat, proving right then and there that his motifs not be questioned, but respected, and if not, the king and his land will be dealt with accordingly. Through the advice of the king's advisor, the king comes to an agreement with Sundiata, and allows him to bury his mother, continue his epic to Mali, and fulfill his destiny. ...read more.

Conclusion

After Sundiata has defeated Soumaoro Kante, and has control over the entire empire of Mali, Do, Ghana, Mema, Tabon, Wagadou, Bobo, Fakoli, and Niani put together, Sundiata returns the ultimate favor of all the hospitality he has received during his exile by returning each kingdom over to its respected king and people, while promoting peace and alliances among all the kingdoms. This is a pure example of complete humbleness from Sundiata. It only seems natural that the best way the hero succeeds in his journey, or epic of life, is through hospitality and the help of others. Even though the hero is represented as having supernatural strength, it is only when the hero shows his weaknesses and humbles himself, will then the path to defeat the supernatural strength of evil unfold. This is clearly shown in the battle against good versus evil, Sundiata versus Soumaoro. With the support of Sundiata's army, family, friends, and through hospitality, the one last key gift is provided to the hero: knowledge. Knowledge is power, one of the strongest supernatural powers that always prevails, which the hero, Sundiata, receives after he earns the trust and respect of the very ones that has helped him succeed through their hospitality. ...read more.

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