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Literature: Plot, Characters, Themes and Critique of A Woman in Her Prime

Topic: Plot, characters,themes and critique of  a woman in her prime

Plot
Brenhoma is the setting of the story; A farming community where traditional religion is mostly prevalent. We recognize lack of formal education among the people of this community. They guess their time by associating it to the rotation of the globe in connection with the position of the sun.

Characters

  • Adwoa Pokuwaa
  • Kofi Badu
  • Kofi Deede
  • Akosua Mansas
  • Akosuwa Serwua
  • Kwadwo Fordwuo
  • Yaw Boakye
  • Afua Koramoa

Themes

Superstition
Tradition
Marriage
Love
Hardworking
Sources of pregnancy
Braveness.

 Critique

A Woman in Her Prime is a critical novel of village life with a progressive message that is modern but not reactionary. It deals with the problems of an African woman, Pokuwaa, who is in her 30s and has not had any child, considered a tragic condition by her society, including her mother. She had fired two husbands for this reason and her third, Kwadwo, is fearful of losing her. He loves her for her own sake: she has grown up to be a strong person and a good farmer. It is Kwadwo who provides the unconditional acceptance that helped her to resist the psychological pressure of her life (although the author understates this nicely).

Abetted by her obsessed mother, Pokuwaa has been visiting various shamans and healers. But the omens are never good. When lightening strikes and burns an old tree near the village there is ominous talk of looking about for a witch. Pokuwaa’s mother sees things the old way and is much alarmed. The last straw for Pokuwaa is when she comes across the body of a man near her farm. Out of fear, she doesn’t say anything, letting the men go out and find the missing man themselves. A dire episode indeed.

But the last straw is a good thing for Pokuwaa. She gives up on the magic, on the theories of fate. She decides that she must just let life run its course. She gives up her burden. Ah, but this is a West African 60s novel, all 107 pages. So in no time at all she is pregnant and lives happily ever after. I think that Konadu wanted to make the point that a woman needn’t have a child to be fulfilled (at least, no more than a man does): she comes to peace with herself first, gets pregnant after. But his view is that the traditional folkloric account that defined the emotional regime under which Pokuwaa lived was oppressing her, and perhaps contributing to her problems. That is, his target was not so much sexism as superstition, although he understood the negative social consequences for women of magical explanation.

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