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Saturday, January 4, 2020

ENGLISH - Play - THE DILEMMA OF A GHOST





THE DILEMMA OF A GHOST
By  Ama Ata Aidoo 
                                               
The Dilemma of a Ghost is a play by Ghanaian poet and novelist Ama Ata Aidoo
The play centres around Ato Yawson, a Ghanaian who recently completed his studies in the United States and returns home with an American bride, Eulalie. 

From the beginning it is clear that Eulalie isn't like the girls back home, and that there is potential for conflict here. Already in the opening scene, a short prelude, Eulalie and Ato are arguing. Still, here there seems hope that love can conquer all -- at least that's how the two feel. But one of the big issues they will face is already addressed here: Eulalie isn't eager to bear children yet, though it is expected of her and Ato that they will begin a family as soon as possible.

Ama Ata Aidoo


THE DILEMMA OF A GHOST
By  Ama Ata Aidoo
 Ghana
 
CASTS 
(Characters) 
 
¨    Ato Yawson: A young Ghanaian graduate.
¨    Eulalie Yawson: Afro-American graduate.
¨    Esi Kom: Ato’s mother
¨    Monka: His sister.
¨    Nana: His grandmother.
¨    Akyere: His elder aunt.
¨    Mansa: His younger aunt
¨    Petu: His elder uncle.
¨    Akroma: His younger uncle.
¨    1st Woman
¨    2nd Woman.  Neighbours
¨    Boy
¨    Girl     Two children in a dream. The boy being the ghost of Ato’s former self.
¨    The bird of the wayside.


Prelude
The play begins with a prelude including a poem introducing the setting and the main characters. Ato a Ghanaian graduate from Odumna Clan also called “the One Scholar” returns to Ghana from his studies in North America and brings with him a black American wife.
She is optimistic that life is going to be nice for her on the African land and Ato’s people will be her people. He assures her that even if they don’t get children that won’t matter for him, but they will create a paradise in their marriage and having children can be postponed as long as Eulalie wishes.
Act One
It features two village women retuning from the river with their water pots discussing how they toil like slaves doing the domestic and farm works while other family members are resting. They also talk about the arrival of Ato who is expected to pay the debts his mother had.
Nana the grandmother is happy for the return of her grandson while she is still alive. She complains that the darkness has fallen but the women have not lit the light. Ato calls them and his uncle Akroma and Petu comes at the same time. Nana suggests that Akroma should take his wife to a famous herbalist called Kofikrom instead of depending on the white man’s medicine alone which seems to be ineffective to his wife. They gather as a family and discuss various things including how Ato the firstborn was humble growing up. Petu asks for the sheep that Eskom was rearing and she reports that she sold it to get the money to pay the bride price for Ato.
Ato informs them that he is already married and they are all surprised and they attack him with questions like; You are married? Married? Who is your wife, when did you marry? What is her name? Where does she come from? etc.
The news troubles them a lot because she is from America and they can’t pronounce her name. He assures them that she is just an American of African ancestry because her grandparents were taken from Africa to America as slaves. This additional information confuses them even more to learn that Eulalie is an offspring of slaves. Nana is more frustrated how she will tell the story to the dead ancestors when she dies, that one of their stock had brought home a slave.
Act Two
Fourteen days later, two women are talking as they come from the woods where they have gathered some faggots. They discuss how important it is to have children but they comment on Monka, Eskom’s daughter who never marries well. However they don’t blame Eskom for Monka’s rudeness. They expect Ato to take care of his nephews (Monka’s children) but they also say that those days are gone.
They talk about Ato’s wife and the second woman reports that Eskom had gone to knock the door of Yaw Mensa to ask for his daughter to marry her son. But she says that he has refused to marry this girl and has instead married a Black-white woman. They hear the cry of a baby from a distance and the 1st woman wishes she also had a child.
Later Eulalie is seen giving a long monologue/soliloquy after arriving in Africa. She wonders what she would do if she finds out that she has made a mistake coming to Africa. She even acknowledges the change of her name from Eulalie Rush to Eulalie Yawson. She expresses the misconception she had about Africa that she thought of it as a jungle, and never thought there is Coke in Africa. She expresses her identity and the pride that her mother instilled in her that God created her black and she cannot change it. She wishes her mother was alive to see her.
Ato then joins her and the two discuss several things teasing each other. Eulalie introduces the idea of starting a family but Ato objects that they should stick to their original plan.  
Act Three
Six months later, Ato and Eulalie have come to spend a weekend. Ato dreams of a boy and a girl in a siesta (afternoon sleep) singing about the ghost who was in a dilemma not knowing where to go whether to Elmina or to Cape Coast. He is so worried about the dream because it once happened when he was still young. His uncle Petu comes to greet them and Ato tells him about the dream he had. He says that the boy in the dream looked like him (Ato) when he was a child. Uncle encourages him not to think much about the dream while he works on it.
Two hours later, Ato’s mother Eskom comes and brings them the snails to prepare the food. When Eulalie sees them she throws them away and this causes a great conflict between Ato and Eulalie and Ato with his mother. Ato tries to defend his wife but Esikom insists that she has to follow the culture of her husband and not the vice versa. Eskom tells Ato how she had troubles collecting the school fees from the unsympathetic rich people and his uncles. She tells him how her friends are laughing at her because she is poorer than ever before since she has pawned her properties and cannot redeem them. She complains that all the money goes to satisfy Eulalie’s (Hureri’s) needs. 
Act Four
Six months later two women returning from the market are discussing about the day of “Sprinkling of the Stool”. They also discuss about Ato, who has not brought any change in his family since he arrived to the point that his mother’s roof leaks more than ever before. Later they say that it is all because of Eulalie, who spends all the money buying cigarettes, drinks, clothes and machines. They also discuss her state of barrenness because it seems so, as she has not given birth since she came.
Ato’s relatives come to perform the ritual of sprinkling the compound to chase the evil spirits using the herbal concoction then they leave. Several hours later Ato and Eulalie are discussing about her drinking behaviour and he asks her to put the drinks in the room because more relatives are coming. At last they arrive and ask Ato to inform his wife that they are going to wash her stomach so that she may conceive. Ato objects but Petu his uncle tells him that they met and discussed about the issue why he is not getting a child. They also inform him that they are aware that his wife smokes cigarettes and drinks just like men.
When they leave Eulalie asks Ato what the meeting was about and he informs her that they came to tell Ato and Eulalie that they are displeasing the spirits of the dead ancestors for controlling birth.
Act Five
The next morning Ato and Eulalie are expected to attend a Thanksgiving Service of his cousin who had died the year before. Eulalie refuses to go with him because as she claims Ato listens to his people so much that she is forced to do as they wish. She complains that Ato’s relatives force their wills on her including when she should have children. She asks Ato to tell them that she will have children when she wants them, but Ato says that they won’t understand. She then insults them that they only understand their own savage customs and standards because they are more savage than dinosaurs with their snails and potions.
Ato tells her; “When in Rome do as the Romans do” she tells him that if he can preach so well, then he should preach to his own people to try to have a little bit of understanding for the things they don’t know anything about yet. Ato tells her to shut up and asks her “How much does the American negro know?” At this point the argument intensifies to the point that Eulalie tells Ato “Do you compare these bastards, these stupid narrow-minded savages with us? Do you dare?”  Ato loses his temper and slaps her and leaves the house.
At midnight Ato is seriously looking for Eulalie but she cannot be found. The first and second women hear the noise from Esikom’s house and they come to find out. 2nd woman guesses that something is wrong between him and his wife the Dilemma of the Ghost. They talk about the way Eulalie was seen in the evening sitting on the grass in the school with her head bowed. Finally they go back to sleep.
Esi comes out to enquire what is happening. Ato tells her that he is looking for Eulalie because she has disappeared after slapping her. Ato says he did so because she insulted his people and refused to go to the thanksgiving service. Esi says she refused because she is barren. Ato tells her that they will have children when they want them and his wife is not barren. Esi wonders whether they are gods who can create their own children. However Esi blames Ato for not teaching his wife about his culture for as she believes “No stranger ever breaks the law.”
Eulalie appears and she looks very weak and unhappy. Esikom goes to support her and after addressing Ato she supports her to the family house. Ato remains confused and bewildered and lost. Then an echo from his own mind brings the voices of the children.
Shall I go to Cape Coast
Shall I go to Elmina?
I can’t tell
Shall I?
I can’t tell
I can’t tell
I can’t tell
I can’t tell
TITLE OF THE PLAY
A dilemma is a situation which makes problems, often one in which someone has to make a very difficult choice between things of equal importance. A ghost is the spirit of a dead person that a living person believes they can see or hear.
 “The Dilemma of a Ghost” is a play featuring a Ghanaian graduate who goes to study in North America and on his return to Africa he comes with a sophisticated Black American wife. They have hopes of a happy marriage by combining the sweetest and loveliest things from Africa and America but soon their hopes are shown to have been built on an unstable foundation. The issues that arise afterwards place Ato the main character in a dilemma. There are several cases of dilemma in the play:
¨    One, the dilemma of the ghost in Ato’s dream. Ato dreams of a boy and a girl in a siesta (afternoon sleep) singing about the ghost who was in a dilemma not knowing where to go whether to Elmina or to Cape Coast. This reminds him of the song he used to sing when he was young but he wonders why the dream has come back to him now.


One early morning,
When the moon was up
Shinning as the sun
I went to Elmina junction
And there and there,
I saw a wretched ghost
Going up and down
Singing to himself
Shall I go
To Cape Coast
Or to Elmina
I don’t know, (p.28)


¨    Two, Ato is in a Dilemma whether to side with his people or his wife. Symbolically, the ghost refers to African culture that haunts Ato himself who is now educated and wants to compromise some of his roots. He informs his uncle “But uncle the boy looks like me when I was a child” (p.30). Since Ato has been exposed to both cultures; of educated people and of his own folks (people), he is in a dilemma how to balance the two cultural extremes.
¨    Three, Eulalie is in a dilemma whether to follow her culture or that of Ato’s folks. Eulalie is confused when she finds out that things are not going to be as they had anticipated when in America. She is forced to follow the culture that she is not used to. Things get hot when she is slapped by Ato and she has nowhere to go. The 2nd woman reports “But it seems as if between him and the wife The Dilemma of a Ghost all is not well.” (p.48)
SETTING
The setting of the play is divided into two major phases.
¨    American setting- this is when Ato and Eulalie are still in America planning to come to Africa and start their living hoping to create a paradise in Africa. This is shown in the prelude of the story. Things like American slang used by Eulalie ‘Ato cant your Ma be sort of my ma too?” (p.9) and cigarette smoking for women sum up the American setting.
¨    African setting and Ghana in particular. The rest of the play is set in Africa and the themes portrayed are a clear reflection of African setting. Things like bride price, superstition, forced marriage, wife beating and the like are very common in Africa than elsewhere in the world.
STYLE
¨    Dialogue – the dominant style is dialogue as expected of any play. Dialogue is usually used to set the mood and tone of the play and bring events and characters to life.
¨    Soliloquy. In page 23 and 24, Eulalie’s voice gives a long monologue describing her experience in Africa. The author says “[On the other hand the passage could be spoken as a soliloquy with the mother’s voice interrupting from back stage]”
¨    Flash-forward. This is a sudden jump forward in time, usually used to eliminate unnecessary events between the more interesting events of a story. In this play this technique is used to speed up the acts from one act to another. For example;
From act one to act two; she skips two weeks [A fortnight later. Afternoon]
From act two to act three; she skips six months. [Six months later. Saturday afternoon]
From act three to act four; she skips six months [Another six months later]
¨    Point of view. The dominant point of view through which the story is told in first person point of view. With few cases of third person point of view.
¨    Songs and poetic language.
The playwright has used songs such as the one the boy and girl sing in Ato’s dream. (p.28)
One early morning,
When the moon was up
Shinning as the sun
I went to Elmina junction
And there and there,
I saw a wretched ghost
Going up and down
Singing to himself
Shall I go
To Cape Coast
Or to Elmina
I don’t know,
I can’t tell,
I don’t know,
I can’t tell
Another song is sung by Monka in page 33.
¨    Poetic language also spreads throughout the play but more specifically it is that which is used by the 1st and 2nd women that serve as a chorus in page 11 to 12, 39 to 40 and from 48 to 49
LANGUAGE USE
Ama Ata Aidoo has used a simple and straightforward language that is rich in both African heritage and American influence; giving the play African originality by the way she integrates the sayings and proverbs from African setting. The introduction of an Afro-American character–Eulalie, adds to the language, a flavour of Black–American slang. There is also the use of abusive language which has become just normal among the Afro-Americans but it is considered inappropriate elsewhere particularly back in Africa where they actually came from. The following elements of language use have been manifested in the play.
¨    Slang
Eulalie an Afro-American character who has her roots traced in Africa during the slave trade, is fully Americanised and speaks the Black English as evidenced in the following lines;
Eu: Yeah…That jus whar yar beautiful wife as corn the, soaking on God’s holy day….My lord, whar a morning!
¨    Abusive language
Eulalie uses abusive language when addressing Ato and his kinsmen referring to them as savages, stupid, narrow-minded and bastards. She goes a step ahead to say that even their land is rotten. The following quotations explain this point clearly;
Have they appreciation for anything but their own prehistoric existence? More savage than dinosaurs”. Despising their foods and traditions she adds “With their snails and potions!” addressing Ato she comments about his people and his land by saying “I must always do things to please you and your folks…..what about the sort of things I like? Aren’t they gotten any meaning on this rotten land? (p.49). She finalises her statement by giving bitter comments showing that in no way an American negro can be compared to this barbaric tribe of west Africa by saying “Do you compare these bastards, these stupid narrow-minded savages with us? Do you dare…? (p.48)
Figures of Speech
Satire
¨    Ama Ata Aidoo has satirised some issues in her play for humorous effect and makes her play a blend between tragedy and comedy thus producing a tragicomedy drama. One of the cases of witty is portrayed by The First and Second Women who are noted for their witty utterances on issues raised in the play, especially on the importance of children in Akan traditional marriage and the financial situation of Esi Kom after the return of Ato from America. It is true that we do not only have humour in The Dilemma of Ghost but other aspects of tragicomedy such as witty speech and a happy ending exist in the play.
¨    There are some utterances in the play that show the satire such as;
And you know some of us are not lucky enough to be paid to sit in an office doing nothing”. (p.29). This satirises the behaviour of most educated people who demand higher salaries while all they do is to sit in the offices doing the paper work that is incomparable to the salary they get.
“Maami, Maami, Ato’s morning sunshine has thrown away the snails you gave them.” This is a mockery to Eulalie who has failed to adapt herself to the new culture of her husband, and Monka calls her “Ato’s morning sunshine” because she considers herself a delicate being.
Simile
¨    He will kick us all around as if we were his football. (p.15)
¨    She mutters ‘Christ, Christ’, like a caged animal. (p.25)
¨    But uncle the boy looked like me when I was a child. (p.30)
¨    All the time I have been quiet as if I were a tortoise. (p.34)
¨    Living a life of failure is like taking snuff at the beach. (p.35)
¨    The name keeps buzzing in my head like the sting of a witch-bee. (p.36)
¨    I hear she swallows money as a hen does corn. (p.38)
¨    Barren as an orange which has been scooped of all fruits? (p.39)
¨    And who has not heard that she can cut a drink as well as any man? (p.45)
¨    It looks like a…ghost. (p.48)
¨    Besides, marriage is like Oware. (p.49)
¨    Then suddenly, like an echo from his own mind the voices of the children break out. (p.52)
Metaphor
¨    Our white master, we welcome you. (p.15) Referring to Ato.
¨    Ato’s morning sunshine. (p. 32) Referring to Aulelie
¨    Why did you not tell us that you and your wife are gods…(p.51)
Personification
¨    Do they not know that if the heavens withdraw their light, man must light his own way? (p.13)
¨    Since the morning has found us we must eat. (p.29)
¨    If nakedness promises you clothes ask his name. (37)
¨    Her food never knows wood fire. (p.38)
¨    For the sun has journeyed far in the sky. (p.23)
Rhetorical question.
¨    Who doesn’t know that she smokes cigarettes? And who has not heard that she can cut a drink as well as any man? (p.45)
Euphemism
¨    …what is preventing you from giving your grandmother a great-grandchild before she leaves us. (p.43) meaning before she dies.
Exaggeration
¨    I say Eulalie am I to wait here for ever? (p.46). Basically, one cannot wait for someone forever.
¨    Is this noise not enough to wake the dead? (p.48). Actually, no noise can wake the dead.
Apostrophe –
¨    This is a direct address to the dead or an inanimate object creating an emotional surge. Here the 1st Woman addresses the Queen Mother of Childbirth. 
Oh, Eternal Mother Nature,
Queen Mother of childbirth,
How was it you went past my house
Without a pause
Without a rest?
Mighty God, when shall the cry of an meant
Come into my ear
For the sun has journey far
In the sky. (p. 23)
Sayings/proverbs
¨    We can soon know the bird which will not do well, for his nest hangs by the wayside. (p.15)
¨    Of course, he is a firstborn. Our eldest hold that first horns are always humble. (p.15)
¨    One must take time to dissect an ant in order to discover its entrails. (p.16)
¨    Even when the unmentionable came and carried off the children of the house in shoals like fish. (p.19)
¨    If nothing scratched at the palm fibre, it certainly would not have creaked. (p.34)
¨    There are two kinds of offers; one which comes right from the bowls and the other which falls from the lips only. (p.34)
¨    The vulture right from the beginning wallow in the soup he will eat. (p.36)
¨    Then scoop your ears of all their wax and bring them here. (p.37)
¨    One should not tell too much tale. (p.39)
¨    Youngman one does not stand in ant-trail to pick off ants. (p.42)
¨    Now you are moving in its right path. (p.42)
¨    Who has swallowed the dog’s eye. (p.49)
¨    But if both players are good, the game may end equally. (p.49)
¨    Let us go back to mend our broken sleep. (p.49)
¨    No stranger ever breaks the law. (p.51) referring to Eulalie that she cannot be blamed for her behaviour but Ato is to be.
CHARACTERISATION
Ato Yawson:
¨    He is a young Ghanaian graduate. Ato is an educated man who got his education in America and returns to his society with an African-American wife –Eulalie.
¨    He is a betrayer/traitor. Ato is portrayed as a traitor as he betrays his society particularly his mother who toiled a lot to make sure that he gets education. He comes back and goes to live in the city leaving his mother in a leaking house which makes people laugh at her. He has also betrayed his culture by marrying a woman from another culture who fails to cope up with the traditional life and ends up insulting his people.
¨    He is jealous. Ato professes to be jealous by telling Eulalie that he does not want to have the children yet because he can’t afford seeing Eulalie paying greater attention to the children than to him. He says “Children? Who wants them? In fact, they will make me jealous. I couldn’t bear seeing you love someone else better than you do me” (p. 10)
¨    He was humble as a child. Ato is said to have been humble when he was growing up. Even in his adult age he still portrays high level of humility until Eulalie abuses that chance and he loses his temper and slaps her. But throughout the play he remains humble and cool even when things get hot on him. Nana says “I think you should all know that Ato was always a humble one” (p.15)
¨    He is a first born to Esikom and a brother to Monka. Ato is the first born and his quality of humbleness is attributed to his being the first born as his uncle Petu comments: “Of course he is the firstborn. Our eldest hold that first horns are always humble”.
¨    He is an agent for change. Ato comes back educated and wants to change the mentality of his people. He comes with a wife from another culture to help them understand that in marriage affairs what matters is love and not tribe. He also teaches them a lesson about birth control because most of them don’t know family planning.
Eulalie Yawson:
¨    She is an Afro-American graduate. Eulalie is an educated African American lady and the offspring of the African descendants who were taken to America as slaves. She admits “I’ve come to the very source” (p.24)
¨    She is aware of her African identity. Born in America, she still knows that her origin is Africa. She was taught by her mother to value her African identity as she comments;
“Sugar, don’t sort of curse me and your Pa every morning you look your face in the mirror and see yourself black. Kill the sort of dreams silly girls dream that they are going to wake up one morning and find their skins milk white and their hairs soft blonde…” (p 24)
¨    She is spendthrift/extravagant. Eulalie is very extravagant when it comes to expenditure. Some believe that she is the reason Ato forgets his mother because she is too demanding. The 1st and 2nd women have the following to say about her;
2nd W: One must sit down if one wants to talk of her affairs. They say that the young man gets no penny to buy himself a shirt….
1st W: Then how does she spend all that money?
2nd W: By buying cigarettes, drinks, clothes, and machines.  (p.38)
¨    She uses abusive language. Eulalie is very abusive as she keeps insulting Ato and his people calling them bad names like bastards, uncivilised, more savages than dinosaurs, stupid and narrow minded and says their land is rotten etc. This is the reason Ato loses his temper and slaps her. She says for instance. “Do you compare these bastards, these stupid narrow-minded savages with us? Do you dare…?(p.48)
¨    She is a cigarette smoker and a heavy drunkard. Eulalie is a heavy drunkard and a cigar smoker something that causes more conflicts and attracts dislike from Ato’s relatives. Akyere laments “Who does not know that she smokes cigarettes? And who has not heard that she can cut a drink as well as any man?” (p.45)
¨    She is wilful and rigid to change. She comes back to Africa but fails to fit in the society of her husband because she is too westernised and rigid to change. She does some things deliberately knowing that she is wrong but she is not willing to change. She tells Ato “I have been drinking in spite of what your people say. Who married me, you or your goddam people?” (p.47)
¨    She is disobedient and very rude. Eulalie is very rude and does not admit mistakes. Although she has her origin traced back to Africa, she looks down upon these African people who have never been to the States. She tells Ato for example “I shall say anything I like. I am right tired. I must do things to please you and your folks…What about the sort of things I like? Aren’t they gotten any meaning on this rotten land?” (p.47)
Esi Kom:
¨    She is Ato’s and Monka’s mother. She is said to be a good mother who takes good care of her children. Even Monka’s behaviour that makes her fail to stay with husbands is not taken as Eskom’s failure.
¨    She has a loving and caring heart. Esikom has a loving and caring heart as it can be seen by the way she takes the food to Ato and his wife after hearing that they are back from the city. “So I thought I would bring you one or two things for I hear food is almost unbuyable in the city these days” (p.31)
¨    She is poor. Esikom lives a poor life in a house with a leaking roof. Her poor state is partly contributed by the fact that she has spent all her resources paying the school fees for Ato’s education. Sometimes she was forced to borrow money from rich people and she had to pawn her properties as she says. “how often did I weep before your uncles and great uncles while everyone complained that my one son’s education was ruining our home” (p.35)
¨    She is very hardworking. Very little information is told about Ato’s father, so we are made to believe that in most cases Eskom was responsible for raising her children. Despite this bitter fact, she manages to do all it takes to give her son a University education. She is also gathering the money for which to pay the bride price for her son’s marriage.
¨    She is sympathetic. Esikom is very sympathetic because despite the fact that she did not agree with Eulalie in most of her misdemeanours, she still showed her a sympathetic heart when she came back home after being slapped by Ato. She even tried to defend Eulalie that she cannot be blamed for her mistakes because “No Stranger ever breaks the law”
¨    She is a traditionalist. As other members of this traditional society, she also believes in some outdated customs like choosing a wife for her son. We are told she went to Yaw Mensa to ask his daughter to marry her son. (p.22) She also sells the sheep to pay the bride price for him.
¨    She is illiterate. She has never been to school that’s why she cannot even pronounce the word Eulalie and pronounces it as Hurere. She is also not aware of modern birth control methods and tells Ato that “Ei, everyone should come and listen to this. I have not heard anything like it before…Human beings deciding when they must have children?”(p.51).
Nana:
¨    She is Ato’s and Monka’s grandmother. She is now very old in her eighty plus years old.
¨    She is talkative.  She likes complaining whenever things are not going well. She admits that “You people say always say I talk too much so I try not to put my tongue in your affairs” (p.14)
¨    She is a traditionalist and illiterate. She objects the idea of Ato marrying the daughter of the slaves and wonders how she will narrate the story to the dead ancestors when she dies and joins them. She says “Now what shall I tell them who are gone? The daughter of slaves who came from the white man’s land.” (p.14)
Monka:
¨    She is Ato’s sister.
¨    She is saucy. Despite the fact that her mother brings her up in good manners Monka’s behaviour is still questionable. That is why she fails to stay with her husband. The 1st and 2nd women comment on her “Is not Monka the sauciest girl born here for many years? Has she not the hardest moch in this town? (p.21)
¨    She is a traditionalist. Like other members of the society she too is not happy with the idea of Ato marrying a foreign girl. She says for instance “Ei, so I have a sister-in-law whom I do not know?” (p.16). She thought he would marry a daughter of the tribe whom she knows.
¨    She is illiterate. She is not educated as a result she fails to pronounce some words like America she says Amrica, Eulalie she says Hurere. At times she calls Eulalie with strange names like “Ato’s morning sunshine”
Petu:
¨    He is Ato’s elder uncle.
¨    He is generous and kind. The moment he gets the news about the arrival of Ato he comes to greet them and welcome them. On top of that he promises to be sending them cocoyams. He says “I have brought some cocoyams from the farm and I will be sending her some by and by” (p.30)
¨    He is a traditionalist and superstitious. When Ato tells him about his dream, Petu comes to cleanse the courtyard using traditional herbal concoction and potion. They also come to wash Eulalie’s stomach so that she may conceive believing that something is wrong with her. He says “Therefore, my nephew, if they do not have children then there is something wrong. You cannot tell us it is nothing” (p.44)
Other characters include
¨    Akyere:
Ato’s elder aunt.
¨    Mansa:
Ato’s younger aunt
¨    Akroma:
Ato’s younger uncle.
THEMES
AFRICAN TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS
              i.   Bride Price
It is an African belief that when a man is mature for marriage, his family, especially the mother could intercede on his behalf. When Ato returns from America, a family meeting is held. At the meeting it is revealed that a wife has already been wooed for Ato; in fact, the bride price is ready to be paid. When Akyere asks Esikom where the money she sold the sheep she was rearing is, she says:
“I have not done anything with it. It had a good market and I thought I would find some more money and add to it to give to Ato’s father to pay for the bride price for its owner” (p.15)
           ii.            Love and Forced marriage.
Apart from the clash of culture, forced marriage is another prominent issue in the play. It is a norm for parents to choose the spouses for their sons and daughters in this society and Ato is expected to conform to this canon. Ato overlooked this fact when he told Eulalie “Eulalie Rush and Ato Yawson shall be free to love each other, eh? This is all that you understand or should understand about Africa.” (p.10) He was wrong.
The playwright takes us into the African perspective of marriage. According to her the society can decide the marriage of their children both male and female. In Africa, it is not a wrong decision if a mother makes the choice of a wife for her son, or choice of husband for her daughter. Eskom does the same for her son before discovering that her son is married. The 2nd Woman informs us;
2nd W: But I heard them say that his mother had gone to knock the door of Yaw Mensa to ask for the hand of his daughter for him” (p.22)
It then comes to them as a surprise when Ato breaks this canon and comes with a wife he loves without the consent of his family. They all wonder:
All: you are married? Married! Married! (p.16)
They then attack him with questions without giving him time to answer. Who is your wife, when did you marry? What is her name? Where does she come from? etc.
                   iii.            Marriage  and Childbirth
As presented in the play, marriage is a life-long contract, which prospers when there are children in it. It is uncommon for instance, for Ato, an African, to tell his fiancĂ©e that they are going to make a good family with or without children. However, his people hold a contrary opinion: his education has dissuaded him from his root. So he no longer believes in the very tradition, which bears his childhood. Confused over the strangeness in her brother’s behaviour, Monka blares out: “The master scholar was sitting on the chair studying, so he could not move off! After all, what is he learning? Is it the knowledge of the leopard skin?” (p.14)
In addition to the issue of marriage is the theme of childbearing. As if there were no other reasons people get married except to raise children, The Dilemma of a Ghost stresses this issue in such a way that one might want to think that an African woman is a machine built only for producing children. However, if one looks closely, this assertion is close to the truth. There have emerged in many African plays and novels, stories of how the African woman is relegated and maltreated due to her inability to bear a child.
The whole society expresses shock at the revelation that Ato and his wife deliberately delay childbirth. Embittered and flabbergasted at this strange behaviour, Petu affirms the importance of childbearing in marriage. He says, “When two people marry everyone expects them to have children. For men and women marry because they want children.” The implication of childlessness in marriage is further stressed when one of the two market women who serve as the chorus to the play laments thus:
“If it is real barrenness,
then, oh Stranger-girl,
Whom I do not know,
I weep for you.
For I know what it is
To start a marriage with barrenness.” (p.39)
In fact, in many cases, women are thrown out of the marriage because of their failure to produce a male child. Aidoo, using the women as her mouthpiece, holds that:
2ND W: Sometimes we feel you are luckier
Who are childless.
1ST W:  But at the very last
You are luckiest who have them. (p.11)
The above statements, no doubt, express the joy that come with childbearing. When Ato reveals to his mother their plan of birth control, his mother blares out: “Ei, everyone should come and listen to this. I have not heard anything like it before…Human beings deciding when they must have children?”  (p.51)
Considering the above scenario, one might be tempted to aver that marital life without children, for the women, is like death. This is the true face of African interpretation to marriage and childbearing. As a result they hold a meeting to discuss why Eulalie is not becoming pregnant and they decide to bring along herbal concoction (a strange or unusual mixture of things, especially drinks or medicines) to clean her womb. Petu informs Ato.
“It was a couple of days ago that we met. What came out of the meeting is that we must come and ask you and your wife what is preventing you from giving your grandmother a great-grandchild before he leaves us.” (p.44)
            iv.            Traditional food
Eating snails in this society is one of their customs and it is considered an honourable food suitable for guests. However, in this book it is shown as one of the sources of conflict that brought a contradiction in Ato’s family. Eulalie who comes from a different culture finds it difficult to eat the snails and she throws away the snails her mother-in-law brings them. Ato argues with Eulalie on this matter;
Ato: But how can you throw them away just like that? Haven’t you seen snails before?
Eulalie: My dear, did you see a single snail crawling on the streets of New York all the time you were in the States? And anyway, seeing snails and eating them are entirely different things! (p.32)
This causes a serious conflict that extends from Eulalie and Ato to his mother and Ato who tries to defend his wife’s behaviour. Esikom asks;
“And what my son? Do you not know how to eat them now? What kind of a man are you growing into? Are your wife’s taboos yours? Rather your taboos should be hers.”
               v.            Superstition
Superstitious beliefs are very common among African societies. In sorting out issues most people view them from the spirit world perspective. For example Eulalie and Ato have decided to use birth control and have children when they want them. But this society believes there is something wrong with Eulalie’s womb so she must be purified to be able to conceive. Even Ato wonders why it should be done this way. He asks his uncle; “Uncle, did you say you are going to use the medicine to wash my wife’s stomach? (p.43)
His uncle insists that it is a serious matter that forced them to summon a meeting upon which they decided especially that he must give his grandmother a great-grandchild before she leaves them (dies). So he gives him the procedures how they are going to apply the herbal concoction they brought.
Petu: We were to choose this day because as you know, on this day we try to drive away all the evil spirits, ill luck and unkind feelings which might have invaded our house during the past year. You know also that we invoke our sacred dead to bring us blessings. Therefore we are asking you to tell us what is wrong with you and your wife so that first we will wash her stomach with this, then pour the libation to ask the dead to come and remove the spirit of evil around you and pray them to bring you a child.” (p.44)
These superstitious beliefs create unnecessary fear among the members of the society. We should discard such outdated beliefs.
               vi.            Wife beating
Although wife beating takes only a minor case of Ato slapping his wife, it is significant that we include it among the African’s customs. Wife beating is not uncommon in Africa and among African societies. Many men have been beating their wives as a way of silencing them and making them submissive to the desires and wishes of men. In the play the playwright gives it a greater magnitude because it is this simple slap that makes Eulalie disappear from the house and Ato faces another challenge of looking for her. His mother asks him what has happened due to this sudden disappearance.
Esi: But why should she behave in such a strange way?
Ato: I slapped her!
Esi: You slapped her? What did she do?
The playwright later reveals that Ato beats his wife because she referred to his people as uncivilised and they have no understanding. This happened because Ato was forcing her to go to the ‘Thanksgiving Service’ of a dead cousin who died about a year before. Wife beating is not a solution to family misunderstanding as it may cause the marriage to break further apart.
vii.            Extended families and lack of birth control.
Most African families are extended families in which case almost all the affairs are decided by all the family members including aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters, etc. This is what happens when trying to resolve Ato’s marriage dilemma.  Esi says: Ei these days, one’s son’s marriage affair cannot always be one’s affair.(p.42) Apart from coming together to make decisions, it is seen that some families have many children including those of their relatives as the 2nd woman says: But who would have thought that I, whose house is teeming with children, my own, my husband’s, my sister’s….(p.11)
She confesses that she has born eleven children by herself from her own womb. “Have I not born eleven from the womb here?” (p.36) This shows that it is necessary to give education on family planning.
CONFLICTS
i.                 Cultural conflict between modernity and traditions
There is a conflict or clash of culture in this society as it would be expected of any society where two cultures co-exist. When two cultures meet, there is usually a disagreeable point in which either, one tries to dominate the other or both struggle for acceptability. In this play, Ato Yawson, a young Ghanaian who goes to America to study and returns home with an Afro-American, Eulalie, as his wife comes back with two conflicting cultures.
His extended family has no approval of his marriage. This scenario sets the tone for the theme of conflict of cultures in the play since Eulalie is from a different country and a different continent with a distinct culture. She expects that her way of life should be respected by Ato’s relations once she finds herself in Ghana. Her way of life, however, contravenes the norms of Ato’s people and there seems to be a constant friction between the two cultures. Eulalie’s engagement in smoking and excessive drinking displeases Ato’s family and Ato himself to the point that Ato ends up slapping her.
This friction could have been avoided if Ato had played his role effectively as a bridge between cultures by sincerely educating Eulalie on his people’s customs and by explaining aspects of the American culture to his people. Ato’s failure to carry out this role efficiently leads to the crisis that culminates in the beating of his wife. On another level, this conflict of cultures could be regarded as a conflict between modernity and tradition.
ii.              Family conflicts
¨    The conflict between Ato vs Eulalie
This conflict is seen from the very beginning in the prelude when they are still in America. It is clear that Eulalie isn't like the girls back home, who are expected to be humble especially when addressing their husbands. Ato admits that even women in Africa do talk but not in the manner Eulalie talks. He says “How often do you want to drag in about African women? Leave them alone, will you…Ah yes they talk. But Christ, they don’t run on in this way. This running-tap drawl gets on my nerves.” (p.8)
While this indicates that there will be potential conflict at home when they arrive in Africa, still here, there seems to be some hopes that love can conquer all - at least that's how the two feel. But one of the big issues they will face is already addressed here: Eulalie isn't eager to bear children yet, though it is expected of her and Ato that they will begin a family as soon as possible.
¨    The conflict between Ato vs his Mother (Esikom)
This comes from Ato’s unexpected change of behaviour in a sense that he finds himself in a dilemma whether to side with his wife or his mother. His mother helps him to make a decision from informed position considering his roots. When Ato tries to defend his wife’s behaviour of throwing away the snails just because she doesn’t know how to eat them, the mother asks “And what my son? Do you not know how to eat them now? What kind of a man are you growing into? Are your wife’s taboos yours? Rather your taboos should be hers.” (p.33)
 In this society it is a woman who is supposed to abandon her culture and conform to the culture of her husband. Since Eulalie fails to compromise her culture and behave like the folks of her husband she ends up causing a conflict between Ato and his people especially his mother.
iii.          Intrapersonal conflict
¨    Intrapersonal conflict within Ato.
Ato is in a great intrapersonal conflict because on his arrival in Africa with his African-American wife, he expected that things are just going to be easy and she would be able to cope with the African lifestyle easily. That however, is not what happens because Eulalie becomes a big disappointment both to Ato and his people. Ato struggles to balance this triangular relationship between Eulalie, his mother and himself but he fails because the cultural roots of each part pull the relationship further apart. Ato becomes frustrated to the point that he ends up beating his wife who then disappears from home and Ato’s frustrations increase since he looks for her everywhere but she is nowhere to be seen.
When she eventually appears no further communication is made and surprisingly Esikom welcomes her tenderly with a motherly love and Ato is left in a dilemma. The conclusion of the play itself by the voices of the children expresses Ato’s dilemma;
Shall I go to Cape Coast
Shall I go to Elmina?
I can’t tell
Shall I? (p.52)
¨    Intrapersonal conflict within Eulalie
Eulalie also finds herself in the middle of a big dilemma or intrapersonal conflict because her anticipation of a happy life in Africa turns out to be a complete distress. She did not understand the cultural differences between the Africans in Africa and the African-Americans. Some of the cases that cause intrapersonal conflicts to her are;
One; everyone expects her to be pregnant immediately as expected of an African married wife. Since she has used birth control, this frustrates her husband’s folks who put much pressure on her especially when they want to purify her womb using traditional herbs. She asks Ato “You afterwards told me, didn’t you, that they wanted me to strip before them and have my belly washed? Washed in that filthy!” (p.47). This makes her intensify her smoking and drinking behaviour which intensifies the pressure from Ato’s relatives as she complains “Eulalie, my people say it is not good for a woman to take alcohol. Eulalie, my people say they are not pleased to see you smoke… Eulalie, my people say….. My people….. My people…” (p.47). This shows her great disappointment from both Ato and his people. Then she adds “I have been drinking in spite of what your people say. Who married me, you or your goddam people?” (p.47)
  
IDENTITY
In the play there is a sense in which we are supposed to reconsider the issue of identity and double identity among the Africans. The Africans in the Diaspora regardless of their true countries especially African-Americans are supposed to have a sense of identity, a sense of belonging, and thus know their root. In this connection it is then not surprising to hear Eulalie on her arrival in Africa confesses “I’ve come to the very source.” (p.24)
This is to say, Africans no matter where they are, they are bound to their roots and cannot change it. Eulalie says in her monologue that her mother told her “Sugar the dear God made you just that black and you canna do nothing about it” (p.24)
Although Eulalie acts and thinks like an American, she, however, does not refute her Africanness. In a nutshell, no matter how far away man is from his root, he will forever be drawn, either spiritually or physically, to its ways. Eulalie shows that her mother instilled in her this sense of African identity when she said:
“Sugar, don’t sort of curse me and your Pa every morning you look your face in the mirror and see yourself black. Kill the sort of dreams silly girls dream that they are going to wake up one morning and find their skins milk white and their hairs soft blonde…” (p 24)
IGNORANCE AND ILLITERACY
This traditional African society is portrayed as being ignorant in several ways but in this analysis we are going to examine only two.
One, they are ignorant of the current development in science and technology in regard to birth control and family planning. In this case we see them raising unnecessary conflict between them and Ato’s family since they want Eulalie to give them a baby against her own plan. When Ato tries to explain to them that it is not that his wife is barren but it is just a family planning method, and they would have children when they wanted them, his mother wonders;
“Ei, everyone should come and listen to this. I have not heard anything like it before…Human beings deciding when they must have children?”(p.51).
Eskom believes that this is impossible and only a barren woman would tell such a tale. So for her it is impossible to plan the family. When Ato tries to educate her on the subject she further objects by ridiculing her son; “Why did you not tell us that you and your wife are gods and you can create your own children when you want them?” (p.51)
Two, they are ignorant of the cultural differences between theirs and that of other societies. Eulalie who comes from another culture is expected to automatically switch from her culture and start living according to the customs and taboos of her husband without being given enough time to adjust. When she fails to adjust as quickly as they thought, she becomes disgust to them. It is not until the end of the play that Eskom blames her own son for the behaviour of his wife because as she says “No stranger ever breaks the law?”
So in other words it is Ato who has done a mistake in the first place by marrying a woman from another culture, but also he has not taught her how to live in the culture of his people. She asks her son “What kind of a man are you growing into? Are your wife’s taboos yours? Rather your taboos should be hers.” (p. 33)
Illiteracy on the other hand is shown by the way these members react to some issues. Most of them have never been to school so they cannot pronounce some words like America Monka says Amrica! and  Eulalie which they call Hurere! Esikom is more illiterate than the rest as she not only fails to pronounce the name and says Uhu-hu…, but also admits that she never went to school by using this saying…
Esi: Ato you know that some of us did not hear the school bell when it rang. Therefore we will not be able to say this name. This Uhu-hu… I want her real name my son.” (p.17)
DISILLUSION AND DISAPPOINTMENT
There are several cases of disappointment in this play. One is that which happened to Ato and his wife Eulalie. In America they were blinded by the feelings of love and they tended to ignore the very facts about Africa. Ato ensures Eulalie that because she is a blend of Africa and America she would suit perfectly in African context and they would make a paradise. He says “Aren’t you the sweetest and loveliest things in Africa and America rolled together? My darling, we are going to create a paradise with or without children.” (p.10) but this is not what it turns out to be.
Eulalie in her arrival in Africa seems to be happy and thinks that she is going to have a lot of fun. She says “So at last here am I in Africa. Joseph and Mary! I hope I’ve done the right thing. What good fun I’m going to have here!” (p23) However, it doesn’t take long to find out that Eulalie doesn't quite fit into the African lifestyle.
Another disappointment is portrayed by Ato, the scholar, who is highly regarded for his education accomplishments. There are so many expectations on him now, and what he is supposed to do for his family and society. However he finds it difficult to balance between the wishes of the society and the wilful Eulalie's needs and desires – who  deliberately, does things that she knows are wrong.
His mother had spent all her resources by pawning “the oldest and most valuable of the family heirlooms, kenles and golden ornaments,” to get the money to pay for his education hoping that when he returns these things would be redeemed. Esikom complains;
Esi: “Apart from the lonely journeys I made to the unsympathetic rich, how often did I weep before your uncles and great uncles while everyone complained that my one son’s education was ruining our home” (p.35)
With all the troubles that Esikom faced trying to finance her son’s education; people thought his mother would now live in peace, as the 1st woman comment; Yes! But the arrival of the son may mean the paying of all the debts at last. (p.12) Ato turns out to be a great disappointment to his mother. She says: “How my friends must be laughing behind me now. ‘After all the fuss, she is poorer than ever before.” (p.35). The first and second women prove what Esikom is saying because they too are asking themselves similar questions why hasn’t Eskom’s condition changed even after the arrival of his son?
1st W: This reminds me of something I had wanted to ask these many days. If her son gets a goodly bag by the month, Why has Esikom not…
2nd W: I crave pardon for snatching the word from your mouth. But my sister, roll your tobacco and stuff your pipe. It has not been good going, the roof leaks more than ever before.
It is revealed however that the main cause of Ato’s negligence to his family is his wife Eulalie. She is so spendthrift that Ato himself gets no money to buy clothes. The conversation between the 1st and 2nd Women in page 38 further reveals that even so, she spends the money buying cigarettes, drinks, clothes, and machines.
2nd W: Listen, I hear she swallows money as a hen does corn.
1st W: Oh Esikom!
2nd W: One must sit down if one wants to talk of her affairs. They say that the young man gets no penny to buy himself a shirt….
1st W: Then how does she spend all that money?
2nd W: By buying cigarettes, drinks, clothes, and machines.  (p.38)
Educated people must understand that they have a duty and responsibility to pay it back and help those who paid the price and sacrificed their resources to make them who they are today. They should not become a disappointment to their societies.
POSITION OF WOMEN
i.      A woman is portrayed as a hardworking and responsible person.
Women occupy this position because the playwright shows that women toil a lot to be able to support their families. The first Woman is taken as a case in point showing how women work hard when she says: Ah! And yet I thought I was alone in this… the lonely woman who must toil from morn till eve, before a morsel hits her teeth or a drop of water cools her throat. (p.11) Ato’s mother is also shown as a hardworking mother who did all it takes to finance her son’s education.
ii.      A woman is portrayed as a slave. A woman is portrayed as a slave in a sense that she does all the domestic chores without the help of other family members especially in extended families. She has to sweep the compound, cook, fetch water, etc. the 2nd Woman complains.
2nd W: My sister you are not alone. But who would have thought that I, whose house is teeming with children, my own, my husband’s, my sister’s…. but this is my curse. Shall I do this when this and that have nothing to do? No. And they all sit with their hands between their knees. If the courtyard must be swept it is Aba’s job. If the ampesi must be cooked, it is Aba’s job. And since the common slave was away all day there was no drop in the pot to cool the parched throat.” (p.11)
iii.      A woman is portrayed as caring person. Esikom represents mothers who are caring to their children no matter the age. When Esikom hears that Ato and his wife have arrived from the city, she brings them the traditional food saying “So I thought I would bring you one or two things for I hear food is almost unbuyable in the city these days” (p.31)
iv.      A woman is portrayed as a symbol of immorality. Eulalie is shown as a symbol of moral corruption because not only does she refuse to follow the culture of her husband but she also disobeys and insults Ato and his people, she smokes cigarettes and drinks alcohol contrary to what is expected of a woman in this society.
v.      A woman is portrayed as a sufferer from barrenness. When a woman gets married, she is expected to have children immediately after few months of marriage. When it doesn’t happen so, she grieves in her heart because the society looks down upon such women as the 1st Woman laments:
“If it is real barrenness, then, oh Stranger-girl,
whom I do not know, I weep for you.
For I know what it is to start a marriage with barrenness.” (p.39)
vi.      A woman is portrayed as a sympathetic person. When the first and second women hear the noise from Eskom’s compound they feel pity thinking that the old woman (Nana) is dead. Also when Eulalie comes back after being slapped by Ato, Esikom rushes to support and comfort her despite the fact that she did not like her behaviour. But at this point she felt sympathetic since Eulalie was weak and very unhappy. She tells her “come my child”.
FEMINISM
The other theme which can be derived from the synopsis of the play is the theme of feminism. Eulalie, who is Ato’s wife, has to fight for her rights as a woman so that such rights can be respected by Ato and his people. She does not understand why she always has to consider the opinion of Ato and his people in whatever she does and says while they, on the other hand, never considered her as an individual who is entitled to her privacy and personal opinion on certain issues. After all, she is Ato’s wife and not his slave.
She complains
My people. Add it, Moses. I shall say anything I like. I am right tired. I must always do things to please you and your folks… What about the sort of things I like? Aren’t they gotten any meaning on this rotten land?”
It is further shown that women have to conform to the local customs and taboos of their husbands at the expense of their own. As a result Eulalie is expected to immediately forget her American heritage and adapt her husband’s culture. When this fails to work out, it brings frustrations to both parties; Eulalie on one side and Ato’s folks on the other side. Esikom suggests “What kind of a man are you growing into? Are your wife’s taboos yours? Rather your taboos should be hers.” (p.33)
POVERTY
Poverty is one of the themes Aidoo discusses in this play. She shows that on one hand there is a class of few rich people who in most cases grow impatient and unsympathetic in helping the poor. On the other hand most of them are poor and they are toiling a lot to make a living. Esikom is one of those who are portrayed as poor by the way she struggled to get the school fees to pay for Ato.
She says: “My knees are callous with bending before the rich.” She also adds “Apart from the lonely journeys I made to the unsympathetic rich, how often did I weep before your uncles and great uncles while everyone complained that my one son’s education was ruining our home.” (p.35) Moreover we are told that her roof leaks more than ever before. However one of the factors accountable for the increased level of poverty is in the society in general it is lack of family planning. The family becomes a burden to take care of. 
BETRAYAL AND HYPOCRISY
There are some cases of betrayal in the play. Ato is seen as a traitor because he fails to live by the expectations of his society and his mother in particular. After graduating he was expected to come back, marry a girl from the tribe, and help his mother among other things to pay the debts she owes some people who gave her the money to pay his school fees. He is also expected to fix his mother’s house anew.
He betrays his mother and all the money goes to Eulalie who spends it extravagantly buying cigarettes, clothes and drinks.  Eskom complains: “I cannot get a penny to pay the smallest debt I owe. Hureri must have eh… what do they call it?” (p.35)
Ato is also portrayed as a hypocrite as his sister acknowledges that when she paid them a visit they did not give her anything except the water after asking for it. She explains this hypocrisy using a proverb that “There are two kinds of offers; one which comes right from the bowls and the other which falls from the lips only. (p.34). This implies someone who pretends to help you but not from the heart. This is hypocrisy.
Additionally, when Eulalie sees the snails she tells Ato to tell his mother that they are grateful for the things but later she throws them away.
PROTEST
The two strands of culture available in this society portray an open protest against each other’s point of view.
Eulalie protests against the culture of her husband’s people. Eulalie is expected to compromise her American culture and adopt that of her husband but she refuses to do that. In her opinions, African culture is uncivilised so she cannot adopt it as she says “Have they appreciation for anything but their own prehistoric existence? More savage than dinosaurs”.
Despising their foods and traditions she adds “With their snails and potions!” addressing Ato she comments about his people and his land by saying “I must always do things to please you and your folks…..what about the sort of things I like? Aren’t they gotten any meaning on this rotten land? (p.49). She finalises her statement by giving bitter comments showing that in no way an American negro can be compared to this barbaric tribe of west Africa by saying “Do you compare these bastards, these stupid narrow-minded savages with us? Do you dare…? As a result this contradiction remains unresolved.
Ato’s relatives also protest against Eulalie’s behaviour. Eulalie is expected to behave like any other African woman but because she fails the whole society comes up against her. They are not pleased with her smoking, and drinking behaviour and the way she insults them, something that annoys Ato himself until he slaps her.
MESSAGES
Ama Ata Aidoo has succeeded in addressing the issues that were and are still troubling African continent. So the morals we get from this play include the following;
¨    Wife beating is not a solution to family conflicts. It should be discarded.
¨    People should be given reproductive health education such as birth control.
¨    Educated people should use their education to solve the problems of their people.
¨    Bride price is an outdated custom it should be discarded.
¨    Change does not take place overnight, one should be given time to adjust.
¨    We should fight against betrayal and hypocrisy.
¨    Choosing spouses for the youths is an outdated custom. The concerned parties should be left to follow their hearts and parents can just provide guidance and counselling.
¨    We should not look down upon women who are barren. Children are gifts from God if someone fails to get one it’s not her fault.
¨    We should fight against superstitious beliefs. They create unnecessary fear among the members of the society.
¨    We should know our identity and be proud of the same no matter where we are.
RELEVANCE
The play is relevant today as it was when it was first published. The issues discussed are the very issues disturbing many African societies. Africa is a multicultural continent where cultural clashes are common both locally and nationally.
¨    Cultural conflicts are common among African tribes especially on the question of intertribal marriages just as it was the case of Ato and his wife – Eulalie.
¨    Poverty is rampant in Africa and many people fail to send their children to school or at the least they pawn their properties to get the money for which to pay the school fees for their children.
¨    Betrayal and hypocrisy especially by the educated elites is common in Africa. Most educated people do not like living in their home villages. Immediately after graduating they run away to big cities where they get white-collar jobs and live extravagant life contrary to the condition in their home villages.
¨    Wife beating, bride price, superstitious beliefs, extended family and forced marriages are the common African traditions up to date.
¨    Other issues like Feminism and Personal identity especially among the Africans in Africa and those in the diaspora are also common subjects for debate in African continent today.


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