*NECO LITERATURE II (PROSE) ANSWERS*
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Second-Class Citizen depicts ordinary Africans who are naturally blacks, and explores, how the fact of their race inhibits them from enjoying a glorious stay in a foreign land. The title of the novel “Second Class Citizen refers to a substandard, inferior, and black citizen in the novel, the fact that there are second-class citizens and first-class citizens makes racism and identity crisis evident in the novel. The former is associated with the British people, who stand the chance of becoming a partaker of everything the society offers, while the latter which is black (Africans to be precise) have their choices limited. They are not allowed to live with their white counterparts, which is a white dominant community. The blacks are forced to live in slums, while menial jobs are meant for them.
For example, Adah and her family make the theme of racial discrimination (Race) prominent in the novel as an issue that she tries to avoid all to no avail. Adah’s first encounter with race relations occurs when they are still at Ashdown Street, when she is served a notice to quit the house.
Adah has refused to send her children to nursery like everyone else in England. Also, they are Ibos, the hated people because they believe in their own ideologies. The landlady is aware that Adah is expecting a third child and the fact that Vicky has cheated death “Adah is expecting a third child and the fact that Vicky has cheated death “Adah and her husband must go” the landlady affirms. Their search for a new accommodation yields no result. Nearly all the vacant spaces they come across bear an inscription. “Sorry, No colored” no them.
Adah’s house hunting is made more difficult because of racism and identity crisis, for she is black, with two children, and pregnant with another. Race relation has taught her a lesson that her color is something she should be ashamed of. She was never aware of this at home in Nigeria, even when in the midst of whites. As racism is beginning to have a serious psychological effect on her, she vows never to measure up with the white folks-but to live a low lifestyle, and also stop looking for accommodation in a clean, desirable neighborhood. She is now learning to suspect anything beautiful and pure because those things are for the white, not the blacks.
Also, the effect of racial discrimination has made Adah a liar and deceiver such that she had to change her Nigerian-born accent so as to sound like a white lady in order to secure accommodation. Both Adah and Francis still have to visit the white landlady to conceal their black colors and identify without result. It is also the effect of racism that makes Francis burns the manuscript of Adah’s first novel. The Bride Price because he feels that Adah is black, and the writing career is meant for the white alone.
Feminism is the belief and aim that women should have the same right and opportunities as men, and the struggle to achieve this aim. Adah as a feminist character is basically created to alter the circumstance surrounding her childhood and that of the foreign land (London) she finds herself. For instance, female children are less relevant and of low value in Ibuza, therefore, they are not given equal opportunities ascribed to the male children. Adah was given birth when everyone including her parents was expecting and predicting a boy. So she is seen as a disappointment to her parents and her tribe and that is why no one bothers to record her date of birth.
However, Adah who is not moved by any form of gender bias, inequality, or what her society thinks about her gender braces the odd to challenge the status quo. At first, she forces herself to school when she is already eight years old since her parents have refused to register her in a school based on their notion about her gender. Her parents, Pa and Ma sincerely believe that education for the girl-child makes her irresponsible and pompous. At this time, Boy, Adah’s brother is already a student of Ladi-Lak institute, the most expensive school in Lagos. She envies Boy initially which later grows to frustration and sadness.
She derives joy in disobeying her parents just to draw their attention to her plight of not being registered in a school with Boy, until her parents become less considerate a bit and have her registered in a Methodist school around the corner which is very cheap. This is made possible through ceaseless feminist protest, especially when Ma is punished by police for child neglect.
As a feminist, Adah extends her silent and harmless protest to her marriage to a man who is brainwashed by African traditional belief that has relegated the women to the background. Francis’s notion about women is narrow and drab. He sees women as sub-humans, to be explored, exploited, used, and abandoned to wallow in misery. It is true that Adah decides to be the breadwinner of her family at the inception of their union, the role that is meant for the male folks. She sustains her family, (husband and four children), pays all the bills as well. This is because she learns very early to be responsible for herself, even when nobody is interested in her for her own sakes, only in the money she is fetching for the family.
Her sojourn to a foreign land and unfortunate marriage to Francis seems like misery slavery and bondage in totality. Her determination, desire, and freedom from male-dominated society which has subjugated the womenfolk and treats them as merchandise make her a true feminist. Also, her ability to detach herself from the shackles of Francis maltreatment is another attribute that warrants attention.
Mama Orojo is the central character in the novel. She is Nii Tackie’s lost sister who has long be separated from him in about fifteen years. She was separated from Nii by the 1969 deportation which took place in Ghana as a result of Alien Compliance Order urging all non-natives to either obtain some papers or leave the country. Her journey to Nigeria was uneventful and she lost her parents on the way to Nigeria.
She is down-to earth, humble and caring. She demonstrates this when she defies all odds and rescues a child from the inferno that raised the full building down. The father of the child (Fumi) appreciate mama’s effort. Joe also praises her to the sky for being a super hero. She is also selfless and this makes her risk her life to save others, she is a self-made-woman with the capacity and ability to stand up to any situation. Tom Monday cannot help but admire her.
Mama is also a Philanthropist. She gives selflessly and this is evident in her constant donation to help the work of God in Amen Kristi. Even when the church members are divided over whether she should be allowed to marry Joe in the church or not, she never seems to withdraw her supports from the church programme or crusade. She is straight forward and she never allows her church to discourage her from marrying Joe because some sections of the church refuse to give her approval owing to the fact that Joe is from another tribe. Mama is a good business woman who prefers to deal with genuine products, but she is not careful when she bought limitation gold from a man airborne that is still at large.
In addition, she is determined to search for her reunion with her brother. The journey to accomplish such onerous task takes her back to Ghana where she finds a future life partner, Joe and brings him back to Ijase, Nigeria where fate finally smiles at her. Her reunion with her brother, Nii marks the beginning of her unexpected Joy.
Mama continues to preach the gospel with Amen Kristi brethren; this time they are at Egba while Joe is still busy with his business and alien issue. Suddenly, the house at the front gulp fire. The mother and the children are trapped inside the building. Mama rushes into the inferno snatch the child from the mother ignoring the mother’s rushes and jumps out. Mama said to her self, I could take care of the baby, if the authorities world allow me, until the father or a relative comes Mama pleads. The damage to property is estimated at several millions of naira and it includes the loss of several lives.
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Bledsoe is the president of the state’s college that the narrator attended and he is a black man. Bledsoe is two faced, manipulated and a hypocrite- a traitor to both the whites and blacks. His motto is to act servile and submissive in front of the white and is actually a man who belongs to nobody. Bledsoe is ambitious and selfish and has once told the narrator that if he has to kill and hang the blacks in order to keep his position he should do so. The statement is the most evident idea for reader to see that Bledsoe is a traitor to his own race.
Bledsoe is also a man who would take any measure to gain what he wants. When Mr. Norton told Bledsoe that the narrator is not at fault. Bledsoe would on the surface agrees with Mr. Norton, but behind him, do as he likes. Bledsoe instead, expelled the narrator and sent him off with seven horrible recommended letters. Even though the narrator fell for Bledsoe “on surface kindness”, this example showed the reader what kind of man Bledsoe is. To the public, it appears as If Bledsoe is willing to help the protagonist, but as soon as the content of the letters are revealed, the protagonist or the readers, get to have more insight to his character.
Bledsoe serves as a foil for the foreshadowed narrator; because both the narrator and himself find themselves in each other’s neck throughout the novel. Because the novel is a bildungsroman, readers can make an assumption that the narrator will be normally developed as the novel progresses. By the end of the novel, readers will be able to see the great differences between the mentality of the narrator and that of Dr. Bledsoe. Bledsoe is also the figure of successful black man during that particular time, that is, to become a traitor towards the black and white.
Also, Bledsoe represents Booker T. Washington. Both men are black and believe that they should remain submissive towards the whites Washington wanted the black to be submissive towards the whites and this is also what Bledsoe has been doing.
The novel is centered on African- American representation of self definition. In the novel, the narrator’s desire to change the course of his story that makes the whites more important than the blacks contributes to the enormous struggles the narrator encountered. No black man is allowed to rise beyond a certain level because of the problem of race and his desire to self-define himself. The protagonist of the novel attributes his invisibility largely to his inability to define himself outside the influence of others. Almost everyone he encounters attempts to tell him who he is, and how he should conduct himself.
At the college for instance, Dr. Bledsoe tells the narrator that he should smile and lie to please the white. The narrator is given an honor to drive one trustee known as Mr. Norton and the narrator is reprimanded for his action at the pub. Also, he is initiated into the brotherhood to become their spoke man, but their selfish aims and objective or too many unreasonable rules makes him back out in the end. At first, the Brotherhood attempts to redefine him by giving him a new name and identity and by having him go through intense instructions to ensure he adapt to the organization’s philosophies. Fortunately, the narrator has to go underground in order to define himself. He does this because he’s not able to finds solution to racial prejudice in his society. His decision to go underground and come back later also portends that the narrator has not relent in his struggle to ameliorate the conditions of his society. This is evident in his enviable conclusion that he said to himself that In going underground I whipped it all except the mind. And the mind has conceived a plan of living must never lose sight of the chaos against which that pattern was concluded. I must come out, I must emerge… And, as I said before a decision has been made, I’m shaking off the old skin and will leave it here in the white. I’m coming out, no less invisible without it, but coming out nevertheless.
Lockwood is a frame-narrator and a wealthy gentleman who comes to spend a year in the country at Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff, as the owner of Thrushcross Grange is Lockwood’s landlord. He meets Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights during his first visit and this reveals an important clue about his character. Lockwood completely misjudges Heathcliff, Not only is Lockwood depicted as a poor judge of the character of others, but he is also not very self aware.
After the heir-rising night spent at Wuthering Heights, Lockwood becomes curious about Heathcliff, and the other inhabitants of the house. Nelly Dean is about eighteen years and he decided to ask her about Heathcliff. Lockwood than sets up the frame story or story within a story when he presses Ellen to talk about Heathcliff. Ellen’s story becomes the second narrative in the novel. Lockwood becomes the audience for Ellen’s story just as the reader is the audience for Bronte’s novel Ellen’s also shares some parts of the story to Zillah and Joseph (servants). Lockwood is the only narrator who does not witness the strange events that have shaped Heathcliff into the man Lockwood meets when he takes up residence at the Grange.
Most importantly, Lockwood serves as mediator of all that he hears from Nelly (Ellen’s) Dean. His narration frames the narration of Ellen Dean whose narration in turn frames other narration such as Isabella. Therefore, one of Lockwood’s functions is to distance us from the narration through a series of framing narratives – a key gothic technique to confuse narration
(i) First person point of view:
The first person method of narration is the technique which the novelist employs, where one character tells the story, that is, Nelly (Ellen) Dean.The reader reads the story from the perspective of this narrative. There are three narrative levels in Wuthering Heights. They are divided into Primary, Secondary and Tertiary narrators.
The primary narration shows that the entire novel is a written record of all the incidents narrated to Lockwood by Nelly Dean. He is thus, the primary narrator and the primary narrate (the person to whom the story is told). This method of narration is the first person past written method. Lockwood belongs here.
Nelly (Ellen) Dean is also the secondary narrator who narrates all the incidients to Lockwood. The method of narration is the first person past/present spoken method. Nelly Dean begins telling the story in part of the chapters. In the tertiary narration, some of the incidents are first narrated by the different characters, first to Nelly the Secondary narrator who in turn narrates them to Lockwood, the primary narrator. Heathcliff’s oral accounts, Isabella’s letter which is read out to Lockwood combining the written and oral method. The story is given to the reader in the form of Mr. Lockwood’s diary, but the story is told to him through Nelly Dean.
These narrators can be regarded as unreliable because they have their own perspective on events and other characters, and that can influence the things they include or don’t include in their narration. For instance, Nelly, the narrator is fond of Cathy Linton and Hareton Earnshaw, so her kind of narration favours them. She dislikes Heathcliff so her narration is less favourable towards him.
Symbols provide in-depth understanding of the prose narrative. They include the following:
(a) Wuthering Heights: The title of the novel is symbolic of the incidents in the story “Wuthering” refers to that which is windy or willowy. It represent instability or “unsettled”. This is symbolic of the events or series of conflict in the novel, some of which result to numerous death and a few others resolved in the end.
(b) The Moors: Moors are open areas, wet, wild and infertile. As the play opens. Lockwood fears walking through the moors at night. Catherine and Heathcliff spend much of their childhood rambling on the moors, symbolizing their wild nature. Both of them are buried on the moors because of the wild personality they represent, Moors also symbolize danger, so does the love between Catherine and Heathcliff.
(c) Whether: The serious winds present at the Heights symbolize the hardness and the problem that the inhabitants need to battle with. Wind and rain for instance, are present when Mr. Earnshaw dies and when Heathcliff departs from Wuthering Heights and when Heathcliff dies.
(d) Ghosts: Ghosts in the novel are ambiguous. They portend danger and they also symbolize past events. Their appearance at the Heights helps the character to remember them. Ghost also add an element of mystery and excitement to the story. The appearance of Catherine’s ghost also emphasizes just how much Catherine was in love with Heathcliff.
(e) Suspense and Palimpsest Narration: Emily Bronte creates atmosphere and suspense using her own artistic technique known as palimpsest which involves the use of narratives within narratives, Bronte uses Lockwood and Nelly (Ellen) Dean to narrate the events in the novel. The use of suspense is great which span from the progression of the first generation character and that of the second generation. The reader should be spellbound to know what happens to Heathcliff but are mystified when he turns a new leaf before his eventual demise.
(iii) Elements of Gothic novel in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights:
What makes a work gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements:
1. Ruined buildings which arouse a pleasing sad mood.
2. Extreme land scape like extreme weather.
3. Supernatural manifestation like the presence of ghosts.
4. A passion driven, willful villain hero or villain.
5. Horrifying or terrifying events or threat of this happening.
Some of the elements of Gothic novel invented by Horace Walpole, have also made their way into Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. In true gothic fashion, there is usually love story crossing the boundary between life and death as we have seen in the union between Heathcliff and Catherine and is transgressing from one social class and family tie. Also, Bronte follows Walpole in Portraying the tyrannies of the father and the cruelties of the patriarchal family.
Also, Bronte has incorporated the gothic element of imprisonment and escape, flight, the persecuted hero wooed by a dangerous and a good suitor, ghost, a mysterious foundling necrophilia and revenge. Heathcliff for instance, imprisons Cathy and Ellen, all in a bid to have Cathy married out to Linton.
There is weather which buffeted Wuthering Heights, the traditional Castle and like the conventional Gothic hero-villain. Heathcliff is a mysterious figure who destroys the beautiful women he woos and who asurps inheritance. There is the hint of necrophilia in Heathcliff’s views of Catherine’s corpse and his plan to be buried next to her and a hint of incest in their being raised as brother and sister.
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