At Nerd Night, some people have expressed interest in the kind of notes I take while in class. Frankly, a lot of what I write is not appropriate for a general audience, but today, when reading back over what I’d written, I decided to treat you to a small sampling. On an explanatory note, I wrote these in a post-colonial literature class. We were discussing a play called A Dance of the Forests by Wole Soyinka. And now, my notes:
I missed last Tuesday, so I’m going to say my grandfather died. I’m also tired enough I might look like I’m sad about the death. What a trickster am I. Also, I don’t have any of my posts done. Damn. Oh well. Onwards.
Wole Soyinka was born on the 13th of July in western Nigeria. The Soyinkas were members of the Yoruba tribe. His father was the headmaster of St. Peter’s Primary School. Soyinka’s mother, whom the author calls “Wild Christian”, was a shopkeeper and respected political figure in the community. Soyinka wrote a fun little autobiography called Ake, if you’re interested.
Soyinka and Achebe have many similarities, though Achebe was an Ibo, whereas Soyinka was Yoruba. They both were opposed to the civil war, and received similar educations.
Soyinka has published about twenty works: drama, a novel, and poetry. He writes in English and his literary language is marked by great scope and richness of words.
So, A Dance of the Forests deals with post-colonial nationalism, or how to define oneself and one’s country once independence has been achieved. Hey, really, you should do all your reading and writing assignments from now on, okay? There’s a very strong oral tradition in Africa. One of the most vibrant genres in Africa today is the home movie. People make their own little movies (scripted and everything), then make fifty copies on DVD and sell them on the street corner. One critic said that the Nigerian national theater was dying out because of this home movie industry.
Magic is a part of African culture. The Palm Wine Drinker is a good book to read if you’d like to learn more. There’s the land of the living which is above ground, to the land of the dead, which is below ground. People can travel between the two. There’s a notion of reincarnation, as well as gods and spirits. Very many of the Nigerian audience would believe that there are real-life equivalents to the characters in the play. Over time, with Colonialism, the traditions were corrupted a little bit, and so not everybody would have believed in it as strongly as they might have before colonialism.
In some sense, Aroni is a stand-in for Soyinka. He is the one who is speaking warnings at a time when the entire nation wants patriotism and pride. Soyinka is saying that nationalism, or a sense of pride is a good thing, but people can’t just say that they’re the best and call it good, they have to be able to self-evaluate, or examine themselves for faults. I’m hungry, but I left my bag on the other side of the room, and I don’t want to get up because I’m cold and moving around would dissipate the little heat I have.
British people call a semi-truck an articulated lorry, meaning a connective truck. You’re presenting on Stuart Hall on May 14. The girl next to me wrote “I love Eli!” in huge letters at the top of her notes, colored it in, and surrounded it with hearts. I didn’t realize I was back in high school. Let’s see, if today is the seventh, that means I only have one week to find out who the hell Stuart Hall is, where I can get his stuff, and how I’m supposed to make a presentation. Damn. Oh, that chick is married. So really, BYU is just a mass of adults playing out very juvenile roles under the guise of receiving a higher education. I can’t wait to graduate.
On page 71 there’s a speech and it relates to the “proverbs to bones and silence phrase”. This sounded like it might have been important, so you should probably go back and look at it.
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