Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Slave: My True Story

Last year for my independent studies book, I read "Slave: My True Story." This book was written by Mende Nazer and it was about her life before, during, and after she was a slave. When she was 12 years old, a woman about to be married in her world, she was taken by men, raped, and put into slavery. The book tells her chilling story about everything she had to endure. She starts the book off talking about her life back home and explaining it in amazing detail. She remembered perfectly what everything looked like and how everything worked. What made me think about her story was when we were reading about Okonkwo and how his housing system was set up. In Things Fall Apart, the book mentions the many different houses on one man's property. There is the main house for the men, separate houses for the wives and daughters, and living quarters for guests. This was just like Mende described her life in her story. One main difference between the two books is that Catholic missionaries are coming into the Igbo people's land when it was Islamic men invading Mende's tribe. I just thought how interesting it was that the two stories were written so far apart yet the housing systems were the exact same.


Antonio Imbornone said...

My independent study book was J. M. Coetzee's "Disgrace." It was the story of a college professor in South Africa in the late '90s. Though the story focused on David's relationship with his daughter, love life, and moral compass, the South African setting produced racial tension between the White people settling the area and the native people of South Africa. I just thought I would share since we have been discussing Europe having an uncomfortable presence in African communities.

madison kahn said...

My book last year for fiction was a biography of Cleopatra's life. I think the reason that this author, Stacey Schiff, wrote this book is for the same reason that Achebe wrote his book. It was very obvious that Schiff's goal was to kind of clear up all the myths and outrageous stories about Cleopatra. If you had to identify some of the key personality traits of Cleopatra, they would probably consist of seductress, untrustworthy, greedy, etc. You would most likely say things along these lines because that's what you've heard in all the stories. Schiff specifically writes, though, that all of the literature/myths we have about Cleopatra come from the Romans, who Schiff identify as "Cleopatra's enemy.
This entire situation is very similiar to Achebe and TFA. Achebe writes the book to clear up the stereotypes against the Africans written by the British (who we could, for purposes here, call "Africa's enemy."

Madison Cummings said...

I read "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood last year for my independent study novel. And, while it did not take place in Africa, and therefore does not to relate to "Things Fall Apart" setting wise, you can definitely compare and contrast both societies gender roles. Coming from this day and age, and living in the United States, the dynamic of both societies seems a little foreign, as they are both almost completely dominated by men. While I wouldn't agree that men and women are 100% equal in our society, we are getting pretty close. This is why reading "Things Fall Apart" can be a little shocking, as the women are often objectified and not given much freedom at all. But, the society set up in "The Handmaid's Tale" is much worse. Each woman is placed into three categories: a servant, a hand maid, and a wife. The servant's job is to cook, tend to the house , and wait on the husband. The wife's job is basically to look after the servants, the garden, and to keep the husband company. Lastly, the hand maid's job is to have a child with the husband if the wife is unable to conceive. The women's purposes in this novel were just to make the man of the house happy, and they were allowed to do nothing else but what they were assigned to do. They were completely portrayed as objects. Thankfully in "Things Fall Apart" I did not find this as the case The women are obviously well respected and valued throughout the novel, and although they live within a patriarchal society, are thankfully treated somewhat like human beings instead of property.