• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent does Soyinka present Jeroboam and his gullible congregation firstly as victims of social forces and secondly, as victims of their own greed and opportunism in The Trials of Brother Jero?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Danielle Abulhawa DRA2001 To what extent does Soyinka present Jeroboam and his gullible congregation firstly as victims of social forces and secondly, as victims of their own greed and opportunism in The Trials of Brother Jero? "Human life cannot be represented in a fully or truthful manner without taking account of the pressures brought to bear upon the individual by his milieu, by the particularity of social situation and historical circumstance" John Cruickshank (1969) I have chosen the quote above as a starting point for my essay because I believe that Africa as a continent has seen such extremes of political and social upheaval that to overlook the importance of history, and its affects down the evolutionary scale on the people of Africa, in African literature and particularly in Soyinka's The Trials of Brother Jero would be very wrong. But how far can you make allowances for greed, selfishness and opportunism (which almost every character in the play attributes to) under the assumption that they are just products of the greed, selfishness and opportunism inflicted on the people when colonisation reared its ugly head? by the same token I feel that it is easy for an audience or reader of a play to put characters good or bad points purely down to their 'character'. When a play write presents you with characters that are so easy to interpret then you have to ask yourself, why? ...read more.

Middle

In fact in Soyinka's own words, from an essay entitled from a common backcloth: A reassessment of the African literary Image he writes of "the European observer" that: "He still fights a rearguard today. It has grown subtler. Accommodation is his new weapon, not dictation" Soyinka (1988) Accommodation of the African continent or of the minds of the African masses perchance? Chume is another of Soyinka's main characters in the play, an un-educated, naive, gullible, hen-pecked man who relies completely on the 'help' he gets from Jero. Looking at the play it is easy perceive that Soyinka has presented Chume as a victim. In the excerpt I have quoted below we can see how Chume goes to see brother Jero, desperate to find help for the mental torture he suffers by his nagging wife, Amope; Chume: My life is hell... Jero: Forgive him, father, forgive him. Chume: This woman will kill me... Jero: Forgive him, father, forgive him. Chume: Only this morning I... Jero: Forgive him, father, forgive him. Chume: All the way on my bicycle... Jero: Forgive... Chume: And not a word of thanks... Jero: Out Ashtoreth. Out Baal... Chume: All she gave me was abuse, abuse, abuse... All Chume wants is for Jero to allow him to beat her, just once, but Jero keeps him hanging on saying it is not the will of god. ...read more.

Conclusion

The quotation above suggests that western influences have even meant a breaking down of the unity that religion brings. After having looked at The Trials of Brother Jero, and having discussed the idea of victimisation I can only conclude that human beings, from whatever culture or walk of life, all desire the same basic things - money and material possessions, respect, power and equality (though not necessarily in that order). The idea that has cropped up so often in my essay, that the social forces which work upon the individual and the nation as a whole are a direct effect of colonisation, is probably the most interesting point of all. You can indeed find reasoning within the text to assume that Soyinka may have intended for this theme to become apparent, whether or not you regard any of the characters as victims or even if you regard them as victims and perpetrators together at the same time. Below I have included a quotation from S.E. Ogude in his essay African Literature and the Burden of History: Some Reflections in which he talks about another African playwright, Chinua Achebe (1975) Saying: "He also reveals the weaknesses of the traditional society and the ease with which European capitalism and religion supported by gun powder and cannon balls successfully challenged the dominance of traditional culture." If this is indeed true then it is a terrible, terrible shame. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Mateship has long been a major aspect of the national image as projected by ...

    Such conflicting outlooks, actually, are useful and valuable when intending to probe the notion of mateship in depth. The Gold Rushes The gold rushes, which began in the 1850s, strengthened the tradition of mateship.

  2. Organizational Perspectives on Stratification.

    is far removed from an act of cognition. Everything takes place as if the social conditionings linked to a social condition tended to inscribe the relation to the social world in relation to the bodily hexus. The ultimate values are never anything other than the primary dispositions of the body, visceral tastes in which the groups' most vital interests are embedded.

  1. The Caretaker - Does the audience see Davies as a social victim or ...

    Davies wants to give an impression that he is superior and has been more affluent than others. "Ten minutes off for a tea-break in the middle of the night in that place and I couldn't find a seat, not one.

  2. Environmental Lessons From History.

    In Rogaland in western Norway with a smaller size than Perthshire the population rose from 211,000 in 1952 to 309,000 in 1981. In Perthshire the population fell over the same period from 128,000 to 119,000. There are 10,000 landowners in Rogaland, while just 800 individuals own the majority of Scotland.

  1. Caste system in HinduismThe historical background It is difficult to trace out when ...

    He says that those Brahmins who were fond of personal pleasures, prone to violence, had forsaken their duties and were red limbo, fell into the category of Kshatriya. Those Brahmins who derived their livelihood from kine, who were yellow and sub-divided by agriculture and who neglected to practice their duties, fell into the category of Vaisyas.

  2. Arundhati Roy's novel The God of Small Things reveals a complex relationship between individuals ...

    for any of the characters. Roy shows in several occurrences how decisions can have deep consequences, showing the power of choice that individuals have within their social lives. For instance, when Ammu angrily scolds Rahel by telling her, "When you hurt people they begin to love you less, (107)"

  1. With reference to a number of short stories show how the writers present relationship ...

    Show me". On seeing the baby, "He struggled for a moment with a grimace of tears, anger and self-pity". He was consumed by his fear of shame for having a relationship with Thebedi, a black. Such prejudice and fear of society's view of him prompts him to kill his own child.

  2. Can Virginia Woolf's novel ' To The Lighthouse' be understood as a feminist text?

    Thought Mrs. Ramsay, taking her place at the head of the table, and looking at all the plates making white circles on it..only this ? an infinitely long table and plates and knives?' (125. To The Lighthouse.) Her female experiences translate into seeing the endless table with plates and cutlery ? a very solid, concrete, domestic example.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work