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In today’s class, we will be talking more about reading and analyzing non-African poetry: Faceless by Amma Darko. Enjoy the class!
Reading and Analyzing Non-African Poetry: Faceless by Amma Darko
- Flashback: This technique or style is seen to be a veritable tool in the hands of the writer. By it, we can make a connection between the three books in the novel: the beginning, the middle and the end. The whole truth about MaaTsuru’s history, Kpakpo, Poison and Mama Broni is made available to us through flashback. The whereabouts of Baby T and how she died are given to us by this technique. The history of Naayomo’s father is given through the aid of flashback.
- Heroine: Considering the nature of the story, it is very commendation to settle for a female as the protagonist. The story revolves around Fofo. Through her, the bastardised and rotten life of the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah is made public to even people like Kabria and her colleagues. By her efforts with help from MUTE, the secret and the actor behind her sister’s death is revealed. In the hands of the author, Fofo stands as the heroine who is chosen to represent other girls who share in her problems and are helpless.
- Suspense: To keep up with the fright in Sodom and Gomorrah, the writer harnesses this technique to help readers to keep up with the story. With suspense, increased interest is created in the readers who ordinarily would have dropped the work because of the decayed life recorded in the story. The contact Fofo had with Poison is the beginning of the technique. It runs throughout the work.
- Allusion: The name of the location, Fofo and other girl-victims reside, is called Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a unique effort by the writer to help readers appreciate his story of the gruesome life of some Africans in their own community. The same degree of atrocities and immoralities that has provoked God to consume the city of Sodom and Gomorrah as recorded in the Bible can be said to be going on in that small community Fofo finds herself. No wonder the name Sodom and Gomorrah is given. In this environment, young boys and girls engage in illicit sex without any form of protection.
- Tragedy: Due to the unpleasant nature of life in Sodom and Gomorrah goes on, some people lose their lives. As a territory not frequently visited by the police and one known for a debased life, the kingpins of the corrupt life lived by residents take laws into their hands sometimes as they know the police will not be ready to spend their time looking out for criminals in the area. But particularly is the death of Baby T. She was stabbed and allowed to die like a bird. Her death raised the consciousness if Fofo that something must be done to stop such killing or else, they all of Sodom and Gomorrah may be the next victims.
- Fofo: She is the protagonist and the heroine of the story. She is a young girl of about 14, daughter of MaaTsuru, and has been forced to join the street girls by her mother who believes she should be able to survive like other girls. Fofo is a child of circumstances whose family history is a very bad one as many see them as accursed. She is faced with terror in the night as Poison came on her to rape her. We also deduce from her actions that Fofo feels uncomfortable with the kind of life she is made to live and wished to get a better job. Fofo has a different ideology from her mother, who thinks she needs a man at all cost to survive. She believes that her mother is the architect of her suffering. She also takes rash decisions like trying to leave town with no money in her hand. She also attempted to steal from Kabria which would have cost her her life. Fofo shows great love for her sister, Baby T by trying to know who is responsible for her death. She is also likeable; no wonder Kabria had an interest in her to help her unravel the secret behind Baby T’s death.
- Kabria: She is Adade’s wife and mother of Obie, Essie and Ottu. She works with MUTE, a non-government organisation, and has Dina as her boss, while Vickie and Aggie are her colleagues. Kabria does all the home chores and also takes her three children to school in her car called Creamy. She is a good wife, mother and woman. Kabria is a selfless woman who was ready to take up Fofo’s case. She is a lively person.
- MaaTsuru: She is the mother of Fofo, Baby T and others. She was married to Kwei, whose mother was against their union. Kwei’s mother tells her son that MaaTsuru is a cursed child and that marrying her means taking the curse upon his head. After Kwei finally left MaaTsuru, she fell into Kpakpo, who came in and destroyed her home. She is gullible and weak emotionally. She can be seen as the source of the problems faced by her children. MaaTsuru is timid and materialistic. No wonder Onko could dazzle her with some few notes of money.
- Poison: He is a ruthless street lord that has grown into a big pimp. Everyone is scared of his presence; because he deals mercilessly with anyone he considers a threat. At the opening of the book, he came on Fofo to rape her. Later on, we realize that he is connected to Baby T’s death and had threatened MaaTsuru not to speak with anyone on the issue.
- Odarley: This is Fofo’s friend in the streets. Like Fofo, she is pushed to the street to fend for herself. Odarley is a very good friend to Fofo. She disobeyed all threats from Poison and his cohorts to help Fofo get to the end of her quest for the killers of her sister, Baby T. She is an intelligent girl.
- Baby T: This is Fofo’s elder sister. She is a victim of several sexual abuses. Unknown to her mother, who foolishly gave her away to Mama Broni, Baby T is introduced to professional prostitution. When Baby T refused to allow Onko have her in bed as a client of Poison after being the one who had abused her sexually the second time, she was stabbed by Onko and her body taken to the marketplace.
- Kpakpo: He is MaaTsuru’s second husband and the author of ill-fate in her family. Kpakpo deceives MaaTsuru by telling him that he has a good job and is on vacation. MaaTsuru believed him but later found out that Kpakpo does not even have a house over his head, because he has rented out his only room. Kpakpo introduces Mama Broni to MaaTsuru and Baby T is given away to her as an employer. When he knew that Baby T is dead, he ran away from the reach of anyone. He is the first that abused Baby T when MaaTsuru was away.
- Onko: He is seen as a betrayer to Fofo, who has always taken him as a confidant. When Fofo told him about Baby T’s rape by Kpakpo, he capitalized on her trust in him and abuse Baby T the second time. Though a mechanic, his shop started to experience great decline after sexually abusing Baby T. After failing to disperse the ghost of Baby T, Onko went ahead to kill himself.
- Examine the role of Fofo in the novel, Faceless.
- Comment on the narrative techniques employed in the novel, Faceless.
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