ADDITIONAL CRITIQUES OF “A WOMAN IN HER PRIME” FOR WAEC/NECO EXAMS (34)

ADDITIONAL CRITIQUES AND KEYPOINTS OF “A WOMAN IN HER PRIME” FOR WAEC/NECO EXAMS (34)

“A WOMAN IN HER PRIME” BY ASARE KONADU

CRITIQUE 2 OF A Woman in Her Prime
22.Compared to the brilliance and brashness of so much Nigerian literature, the quieter literature of Ghana may seem in danger of being overlooked. A Woman in Her Prime is a good example of what a mistake that would be.

23.Like its heroine, A Woman in Her Prime is modest, balanced, calm, and understated, but with a charm and quiet beauty that prove captivating. It centers on a domestic drama that can be stated simply: Pokuwaa would like a child, but her prayers have not been answered.

24.The opening chapter skillfully draws drama from this simple situation. It is the appointed day for sacrifice to the god Tano, but Pokuwaa is running late. She washes herself, rubs her skin with shea cream, and purifies herself with white clay powder, then looks for the black hen she means to sacrifice. She finds only a post in the ground and a broken string. The hen has escaped! She asks some children if they have seen it, and when one child admits to having thrown a stick at a stray black hen she sees that he is a fetish child — the product of prayers and sacrifice like the child she wants for herself. Rather than being harsh with him, she enlists him and the other children to search for her hen. They find the hen in the bushes, about to be swallowed by a snake, but Pokuwaa is just in time to pin down the snake, rescue the hen, and make her sacrifice.

25.In a few pages we learn a lot about Pokuwaa: about her courage and resourcefulness, her faith, the strength of her desire for a child, and the fact that she is good with children and able to gain their trust.

26.Pokuwaa has divorced two husbands, apparently with little fuss, when they prove unable to give her children. (Oddly, there is little suggestion than the villagers think the fault is with her.) She becomes the second wife of a kind man named Kwadwo, and in less than a month she shows signs of being pregnant. She loses the child, though, and a medicine man chides her for not making the proper sacrifice. Pokuwaa’s mother, who had pressed her to leave her second husband, seems nearly as concerned about that lack of a child than Pokuwaa herself. Kwadwo’s first wife also resents her husband’s attention to Pokuwaa. But Pokuwaa and Kwadwo have a gentle, teasing relationship, full of goodnatured humor. Pokuwaa has good friends, too, and a thriving farm. Her wish for a child doesn’t prevent her from enjoying her life.

27.Another small drama arises when Pokuwaa discovers a dead body in the forest. Not wanting to draw attention to herself, she tells only her mother and keeps quiet as the villagers search for the missing man. Her feeling of guilt comes out in her tears at the man’s funeral, causing Kwadwo to suspect she knew the dead man better than she admits.

28.Perhaps because finding the body has caused her to think more deeply about life and death, or perhaps because she has simply had enough of endless rituals and sacrifice, and her mother’s nagging, Pokuwaa finally says, “I think I am going to have peace at last. I am going to give up crying inside me for that which I cannot get. I am not going to sacrifice any more.”

29.There are many African novels that tell of violence, betrayal, and cruel disillusionment. There are few that express the sweetness of village life. With its loving descriptions of the rituals, routines, and gossip of a small community, A Woman in Her Prime expresses how disappointment may be balanced by tenderness and peace — and how we sometimes get the thing we want only after we have stopped striving for it.

geoff wisner

CRITIQUE 3

30.Besides Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall, if there is any African novel that portrays the African society with its sacrosanct beliefs concerning women, it will be Asare Konadu’s A Women in Her Prime; if there is any traditional African novel that treats the theme of barrenness as a fatal misfortune for African women besides Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood, it would rather be A Woman in Her Prime. African literature has got to the level of resurging the old African antiquity and merged it with the present for close juxtaposition. The fact that Asare Konadu’s book treats the universal belief of traditional African society on gods as the givers of glory and destroyers of hope has to be considered.

31.Two things, after reading the book for the second time made me review it: the colorful presentation of traditional African society by the book; and the emotion that surrounds the employment of the book’s diction aimed at meeting the soul of common reader who may not be an African and create the eagerness to know more about traditional African cultural heritage. In the novel, males are regarded as the ‘child givers’ as said by Opanin Owufu statement in the text. Any woman who fails to bear children almost has the blame and labeled ‘useless’. The misfortune of the protagonist of the novel, Aduwa Pokuwa is a true revelation that child bearing is very important for female, as a woman found to be barren as desert cannot be reckoned with in the society. Throughout the novel, there exists conflict between god and God, as great god Tano which Pokuwa has been offering sacrifices for before is relegated as being powerless and all fates are entrusted in God who Pokuwa believes to have erased the indelible mark of barrenness and pessimism from her bosom.
32.Pokuwa has been a successful farmer and industrious woman well reckoned with in the village of Brenhoma from the onset of her marriage to Kofi Dafo but the joy of being happy in her prime  denies her as she still remains a barren in the middle of her age. This apprehension of barrenness makes her divorce her first and  second husband  before meeting Kwadwo Fordwuo who has been there for her not as only husband but also father through his inestimable patience, caressing advices, sympathy and charm, though his fatherhood has been established in another woman. Many years gone without her prayers answered by great Tano and “if she failed to make this sacrifices and lost her chance of child-bearing, her fate as a barren would be made certain. Then her old age would be doomed in loneliness (PG13)’’. Kwadwo Fordwuo, being a good husband, always “sat thinking of how he had prayed and his feet brushed the dew. He had called on great Tano to make it possible for Pokuwa to bear a child.’’ (PG21), before she decides to reject mother’s interference and recourse to charm, drug sacrifices to ensure the taste of joy embedded in motherhood and leave her fate to supreme God, Nye. Her resignation from being submissive to Tano again, according to her, wipes her tears of barrenness, though her mother who has been in whelming entries with great Tano believes he does it. She is eventually left with tale of joy to tell after discovering she is pregnant. What indeed a woman in her prime she is!
33.Analytically, the book is filled with imagery worthy of easy envisage; it has to be given kudos for the type of diction employed. The fact that the diction is emotionally detailed amounts  to critical evaluation of African society which deems the book fit of being appreciated.
34.When talking African literature and women, it is compulsory we consider the problem faced by them in the society. Literature is a window to life and that is the main reason we can’t forget the heart-taking roles of Nnu-ego in Buchi Emecheta’s joys of motherhood and Pokuwa in a women in her prime in order to exhibit the hindrances women are made to battle within African vicinity.  But there is hope for whenever there is a will there must be way. Pokuwa, having won over her barrenness saves the book from being tragic and gives hope for African women. Correspondingly, I find the interconnectivity and intertwining of the sub plots to the main one endearing. Every event related along the major storyline is typically African.
35.However, Asare Konadu’s a woman in her prime leaves the readers in ‘happy suspense’ as we are veiled from what happens to Pokuwa if perhaps she gives birth to the child or another thing ensues. It could be recalled that Pokuwa while with her first husband has miscarriage due to what the priest believes to be her lackadaisical care-freeness towards great god Tano’s orders.  Then if Pokuwa still repeats this again, who knows if Tano may get angered and lead to another brutal miscarriage. Also, portraying Pokuwa as being against the general belief ascribed to the gods is subjective to the author.

 

4 comments on “ADDITIONAL CRITIQUES OF “A WOMAN IN HER PRIME” FOR WAEC/NECO EXAMS (34)

  1. Pingback: MORE CRITIQUES AND COMMENTS ABOUT “A WOMAN IN HER PRIME” FOR WAEC/NECO EXAMS (35) | LAGOSBOOKSCLUB.WORDPRESS.COM

  2. Pingback: “THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA” IN WAEC/NECO LITERATURE EXAMS:..IS ANY PART OF HEMINGWAY ‘S PERSONAL LIFE AND EXPERIENCE REFLECTED IN THE NOVEL? | LAGOSBOOKSCLUB.WORDPRESS.COM

  3. Pingback: WE ARE STUNNED!…ALMOST 20,000 STUDENTS FROM WEST AFRICA HAVE VISITED OUR BLOG IN THE LAST 48 HRS TO READ NOTES ON “A WOMAN IN HER PRIME” AND “WOMEN OF OWU”!… | LAGOSBOOKSCLUB.WORDPRESS.COM

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