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Lonely Days, Bayo Adebowale’s novel centres on Yaremi, a strong widow and her experiences as a lonely woman in Kufi village.
Yaremi is the widow of Ajumobi who was a very brave and prosperous hunter.
She has three children: Segi, Alani and Wura. As in all African cultures, Yaremi faces a lot after the demise of her husband ranging from accusation of murder and several rites and practices. After going through all those, Yaremi is now left alone to face life as a widow.
Yaremi’s grandchild (Segi’s son), Woye, is a small boy who stays with Yaremi during this trying times. The boy helps Yaremi with her trade in the market and also with the production of dyed materials who she sells for a living.
After a short while of reminiscing on the good days, of sorrowing over her dead husband, of trying hard to face the new life of loneliness that the death of her husband presents; Yaremi is to pick a new husband.
*Below are 3 irrefutable themes in the story:*
(i) Disadvantages of widowhood
(ii) Gender inequality among Africans
(iii) Hardwork and self-esteem
4i)DISADVANTAGES OF WIDOWHOOD
The story placed its protagonist (who is a widow) through the disadvantages of widowhood. Yaremi (the protagonist) in her black mourner’s attires, has not fully got over the sorrow of losing her husband (Ajumobi) when other negative effects of widowhood began to pile. She became lonely fending for herself alone yet the envies and criticism from the people of Kufi village made matters worse; like other widows, Yaremi was expected to be down in self-esteem but she was not, she was expected to depend her living on another man in Kufi but she didn’t.
According to the storyline, Fayoyin, who was also a widow, was made to lick libation and sing dirge at her husband’s death; and her beautifully woven hair was shaved to bard skull. Other disadvantages the widow characters face in the story are castigation, maltreatment, forceful second marriage, etc.
4ii)GENDER INEQUALITY AMONG AFRICANS
Gender inequality has been a very big issue in Africa, both in urban and in rural parts. In Lonely Days, the issue surfaced among dwellers of Kufi village. The men are highly placed above women and women are meant to have cold feet whenever issue between man and women arise.
Even a Yoruba proverb says “let a man pee while walking and a woman pee while walking and we shall see which one will wet her legs with urine”.
One of the ways with which men prove their superiority over women in Kufi village is the forceful cap-picking which is organized for the widows; in such event, men interested in such a widow will submit their cap for the widow to pick one.
4iii)HARDWORK AND SELF-ESTEEM
Hardwork and self-esteem are made to be the treasures of women in Lonely Days by Bayo Adebowale. Those who possess both are gloried as in the case of Yaremi, the novel’s protagonist and widow. She is a dedicated mother who not only believe in herself but also in female emancipation and empowerment due to her vast experience and exposure. Yaremi was so hardworking to the level that her trade was known across surrounding villages.
Mary Dalton is the female heiress of Dalton’s estate whose death leads to Bigger Thomas, self discovery.May is an adventurous female charcter with a communist orientation.Her role as a girlfriend to Jan Earlone helps the reader understands the role played by communist referred to as “reds” in the civil right movement.During her first meeting with Bigger Mary treats Bigger has her equal.This upsets Bigger who share a racially biasedviews of the societynaround him.Bigger’s hatred for the oppressive white society makes him harbour hatred towards Mary who also refers to her father as “capitalist” in his presence.Mary’s role as a succour provider for Bigger is interpreted by Bigger as an insult.After Mary drives,Mary and her boy friend Jan Erlone around town and they make Bigger drive them to a black neigbourhood where they eat at Ernie’s kitchen making Bigger embarassed as some of his negro friends see him in the company of white folks.Bigger feel humiliated despite Mary’s treatment and after Bigger initially refuses to leave the car,mary begins to sob but is consoled by Jan.After Bigger drives Mary home Bigger tries to carry the drunken Mary up the stairs and as the body crushed against each other Bigger is sexually aroused and as Bigger places her on the bed he hears Mary blind mother approach the home out of fear,Bigger covers Mary,s face with apillow and inadventently kills her in the process.Mary’s death in the novel leads to Bigger’s self discovery
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