Ayi Kwei Armah’s TWO THOUSAND SEASONS, is ‘a deeply profound and monumental text’ projecting a pluralized communal voice [we] speaking via the record of Africa, its damp and dry seasons, from a period of time of one particular thousand many years. The title itself represents the enormous arc of time covering the very long and dreadful many years in African record that ended up traversed and endured. This pan-African epic sums up the African working experience for the past two thousand seasons minimized successfully to ‘a thousand seasons wasted wandering astonished alongside alien streets, yet another thousand put in obtaining paths to the living way.’ Prepared in allegorical tone, it shifts from autobiography of disconnectedness and reconnectedness and sensible details to philosophical ponderings, prophesying a new age of hopeful regeneration. This large span of African record minimized to just two hundred web pages has presented increase to uncertainties as to its authenticity as a novel even however it interpretes record creatively.
Ayi Kwei Armah was born in the twin-harbour town of Sekondi-Takoradi in Western Ghana in 1939 to Fante-speaking mother and father. On his father’s facet, he hails from a royal spouse and children in the Ga tribe. His secondary schooling was at the prestigious Achimota University. In 1959 he proceeded on a scholarship to the GROTON Faculty in Massachusetts. Subsequent at Harvard University he received a diploma in sociology. He moved to Algeria to operate as a translator for the journal Revolution Africaine. Back in Ghana, he got engaged at the Ghana Television as a scriptwriter and later on taught English at the Navarongo college. He grew to become editor of JEUNE AFRIQUE journal in Paris from 1967-8. He then proceeded to Columbia University where he acquired his M.F.A. in resourceful composing. In the 1970’s he taught at the University of Countrywide Training, Chang’omgo, Tanzania and at the Countrywide University of Lesotho. He lived in Dakar, Senegal from the 1980’s and taught at Amherst and University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Armah’s composing occupation began in the 1960’s. He printed poems and shorter stories in the Ghanaian journal OKYEAME, and in HARPER’S, THE ATLANTIC Monthly, and NEW AFRICAN. Then in 1968 he printed his first novel THE Attractive Kinds ARE NOT Yet BORN which emerged as a modern-day African typical.
TWO THOUSAND SEASONS is a novel of reduction and redemption. ‘Woe the race, too generous in the providing of itself, that finds a highway not of regeneration but a highway to its have extinction,’ he warns and goes on to trace the paths taken: the lots of wrong types and the legitimate types.
The position of origin, the property, is an unspecified sub-saharan African nation. The tale actually commences with the coming of the predators who deliver in spoil. Initially, we have the Arabs, then the Europeans – ‘White all. And usually the weak and complicit locals maintain demonstrating from the first a ‘fantastic high quality […]: fidelity to people who spat on them,’ hence assisting to deliver spoil from in just.
The first predators show up as beggars. Their pitiful overall look is deceptive. Cunningly and patiently, they took maintain working with their faith to inspire and maintain sway in excess of the weak, turning them against their fellow Africans. The predators cut down them ‘to beasts’ by starving their minds with their foreign faith and ‘indulging their crassest actual physical would like. These beasts- the perfidious askaris, who maintain the locals subjugated throughout the countless numbers of seasons – are pathetic, but however the other people contemptuously simply call them ‘white desert-men’s dogs’ they develop into the keen and normally extremely efficient resources of the predators.
Armah hence retains demonstrating the African to have contributed to the demise of his have tradition by remaining at any time so keen to offer with the [white] devil and by promoting out to his fellow male.
The ‘white male from the desert’ patiently tends to make inroads, returning more robust and wiser every time. The locals do not know how to guard on their own:
This time all over again the predators arrived with power – to split our bodies. This time
they arrived with guile also – a faith to smash the feeblest minds among us,
then switch them into resources against us all. The white adult men from the desert experienced
produced a discovery treasured to predators and destroyers: the seize of the brain
and the entire body both equally is a slavery much much more long lasting much much more protected than the
conquest of bodies by yourself.’
Revolts of terrific ferocity ended up frequent. The predators’ gluttony leads to their have
undoing – still that undone is hardly ever plenty of. Achievement is restricted. The following wave of predators are seemingly usually at the prepared. But the local hardly ever seem to be to get any wiser.
Management is as considerably a trouble in this text as it is in Bound TO VIOLENCE. The rulers for whom Armah reserves absolutely nothing but contempt are the worst. ‘The quietest king, the gentlest chief of the mystified, is prison outside of the exercise of any compassion.’ This retains correctly legitimate for his primary instance, the greedy idiot, Koranche.
The whites, coming immediately after the Arabs, are not basically predators but destroyers – the armed colonial European powers. And Armah is selected: ‘There is absolutely nothing white adult men will not do to fulfill their greed’-or: ‘Monstrous is the greed of the white destroyers, infinite their avarice.’ Luckily for them then, there is very little Koranche and his flatterers won’t do to fulfill their greed possibly:
Amid the white destroyers there was no regard for anything at all we could say.
They experienced occur determined to see absolutely nothing, to listen to no one particular, bent solely on the
gratification of their greed, of which we experienced enough news. But the king was
infatuated with the white destroyers and would not heed the people’s will, as
swift in its expression as it was obvious to convey to the white adult men to go.
Amid the destroyers are missionaries, too, with a unique toxic faith.
Sensible Isanus warns time and time all over again of the dangers forward but no one particular listens.
‘Have we forgotten the lead to of our very long wandering? Did we not study around the desert how clergymen and warriors are twin destroyers, the priest attacking the sufferer brain, the warrior breaking bodies nevertheless inhabited by resisting wills?’ ‘All straightforward folks who have occur to us have occur since they sought to do on their own fantastic among us, as part of our folks, and they mentioned so. These white adult men, they do not want to be part of us. But right here they have occur claiming they have crossed the sea from where ever it is they occur from just to do us fantastic. They are pretenders. They are liars. We have questioned them for absolutely nothing. We need to not have let them occur among us. They have no desire to are living with us. They will are living against us’ [p153-154]
”The whites intend a long lasting oppression of us’…He informed us in the city Poano he experienced read a white male, a missionary whose white greed was so refined it looked forward to the ending of the open trade of human beings, to the starting of a subtler destruction. This white missionary considered there would be much increased profit in keeping the victims of the trade right here on our land, getting the kings and courtiers use them to mine and mature whichever the whites will need, then presenting the products to the white destroyers… Isanus mentioned this white missionary would be busy obtaining strategies to eternalize our slavery via working with our leaders in a cleverer variety of oppression harder to see as slavery, slavery disguised as flexibility itself. The whites intend a very long oppression of us.” [p163]
[The narrator] ‘Our options in the daily life we ended up prepared to start out would not be lots of: we could healthy into existing arrangements, abandoning our desires of that improved entire world, desires of our way, the way. Or we could consider to know the way. That would indicate preventing against the white street, the white people’s technique for destroying our way, the way.
We listened to Isanus. We did not know that the awareness contained in his terms was immediate, urgent awareness. We considered we would have time to take in it, time to modify to its indicating. We experienced none.
Isanus attempted to warn us but we misjudged him. We considered there was a length amongst his terms and truth, a area for us to manoeuvre in. There was none….He warned us to remain completely obvious of the new arrangements, the positions which experienced currently develop into mere employment for parasites.’
[Isanusi] ‘The way things have develop into, if you do not want to be parasites you will need time in which to assume of what else there is to be. And higher than time, bravery to do what you conclude you should to do which is much more hard….’
[Isanusi] ‘If you knew who you ended up, you would accept no invites from [B]absence adult men who simply call white folks good friends. Bloody pursuits feed these kinds of unnatural friendships. You will are living to be their sufferer.’ [P164-166]
Afterwards, immediately after they have been marketed into slavery by their king and escaped ‘his terms arrived back again an echo to what we experienced lived to know.’ Eventually, they are determined not to look into the past, or ‘return to property blasted with triumphant whiteness.’ They would ‘seek the important starting to destruction’s destruction.’
Isanusi observing how very long the street forward is, warns that this era ‘would not outlive the white blight, that only the groundwork could be loud, the beginnings undertaken. In spite of the treachery of chiefs and leaders, of the greed of parasites that experienced pushed us so much into ‘the whiteness of death’ there is some hope for the long run – however not an immediate one particular, ,
In spite of unspeakable horrors, oppression and betrayals as in Bound TO VIOLENCE, this novel unlike the latter is a tale of the triumph of the human spirit and the will. Enslaved, there is a daring escape from the ship adopted by the rescue of the other people. The white predators are hence beaten at their have sport. Arms stolen from them are then turned against them. Inspite of continuing treachery, successes alongside with tiny movements emerge alongside the way. A great deal of this is dramatically associated. It is a stirring normally horrifying, normally touching read through.
The shared norms, values and ancestral qualifications reposed in Bound TO VIOLENCE are retained in TWO THOUSAND SEASONS. This could be most effective examined in the style of the opening paragraphs of the first chapter with its preponderant communal’we’.
We are not a folks of yesterday. Do they inquire how lots of single seasons have
flowed from our beginnings right up until now? We shall place them on the proper
beginnings right up until now? We shall place them on the proper starting of their counting. On a obvious night when the light of the moon has blighted the historical female and her seven little ones, on these kinds of a night convey to them to go by yourself into the entire world. There have them depend first the one particular, then the seven, and immediately after the seven all the other stars seen in their eyes by yourself.
Following that starting, they will be prepared for the sand. Allow them depend it grain
from single grain.
And immediately after they have arrived at the close of that counting we shall not inquire them
to variety the raindrops in the ocean. But with the wisdom of the aftermath have them inquire us all over again how lots of seasons have flowed by considering that our folks ended up
As Ngara states, the preponderance of the first person plural ‘we’ throughout the tale factors the narrator out as ‘a collective voice in the legitimate tradition of African communalism.’ Armah’s narrator, speaking for the team, exemplifies one particular of the book’s significant messages – the truism that power, survival and even elegance are to be found in togetherness. We consequently have the continuous emphasis on their frequent qualifications throughout the text by implies of these kinds of phrases as ‘our people’, ‘our origins’ and ‘our history’. With the first person, the author right away results in the illusion of a speaker essentially addressing a listener – in this case a reader, as posits Mensah. But then we also get the effect of a teller involving an viewers in his narration as he retains asking: ‘Do they inquire how lots of single seasons we have flowed from our beginnings till now?’ This also gives the narrator a much more than usual diploma of immediacy of a direct deal with of a living voice.
This result is improved by the rhetorical use of repetition in ‘On a obvious night when the light of the moon has blighted the historical female and her seven little ones, on these kinds of a night convey to them.’ The most recurrent repetition is that of ‘the way’, ‘our way’, and ‘reciprocity’. This occasionally lends the tale some philosophical twist as could be sensed in: ‘Its farthest indicating, that indicating big plenty of to maintain all other meanings, was the indicating of the way itself: the simply call to reciprocity in a entire world wiped clean of destroyers innocent all over again of predators. What was the indicating of the way? Its obvious indicating was destruction’s destruction. It really is closest indicating: the research for paths to that important starting.’
Below, ‘meaning’ has been normally recurring. But we also detect the use of yet another rhetorical device, that of rhetorical queries as exemplified below:
Which shall we now pick out to keep in mind of the lots of idiocies our tolerance
has supported? Shall we keep in mind Ziblin the significant one particular, significant not like a living elephant but like infirm mud, he who needed each and every new bride’s hymen as his
boasting prize, but turned the tears of gals into laughter when they found
enormous would-be king experienced not the blood in him for coming into the widest open
doorway? Or shallow remembrance be of Jezebo, he who for the solace of his
shriveled soul needed all coming into his presence crawling on their knees. Or of Bulukutu, he who gave himself a thousand grandiose, empty names of praise
died forgotten other than in the memories of laughing rememberers?
Through this device we are presented the truly feel of a communal working experience with the narrator involving the viewers by asking them queries. But certainly the queries on their own are disguised statements for they in simple fact do what they inquire to be carried out.
The recourse to proverbs at a time when the will need for consciousness is remaining emphasised is important:
Of unconnected consciousness is there much more to say outside of the obvious recognition this is destruction’s keenest software against the soul? That the left hand
need to be retained ignorant of what its correct twin is produced to do… That the coronary heart detached need to beat no quicker even when limbs familiar to it are moved to heinous
acts. That our left eye need to be established to see against its twin not with it… That the sight of the eye need to be unconnected, cut off from the mind’s embracing consciousness – what is that but death’s white in delirious triumph?
The wisdom of the sayings is warped to shock the viewers into acknowledging the destructiveness of unconnected consciousness.
Armah sustains the result of recreating in composing the speaking voice throughout the operate hence creating it one particular of the most oral is effective at any time prepared. It is not just any speaking voice. It is official and dignified and invested with authority. This is in the tone, the contemptuous tone in which the narrator discusses queries about the antiquity of Africans. ‘Just as only a idiot would endeavour to depend the stars or the grains of sand on the shore or the raindrops in the ocean, so only a idiot would want to depend the many years in buy to arrive at the immemorial epoch when the African folks originated ,’ It is a tone suggestive of wisdom as perfectly as impatience with the folly of Europe’s strategies. This passage also exemplifies yet another device Armah makes use of to devote the narrator with authority which is the deep awareness exhibited about African things. The reader is throughout the novel overwhelmed by the narrator’s encyclopaedic awareness of Africa’s rivers, trees, peoples, names and its record hence recreating the voice of the court docket historian, the griot or at least sagacious grandparents telling the younger of the village tales of yore. AS Robert Fraser observes: ‘where ahead of we searched in vain for an instance of recognizable authorial intervention, the author right here can take on himself a role of obtrusive commentator from the extremely first sentence.
Fraser, Robert, THE NOVELS OF AYI KWEI ARMAH, London, Heinemann,
Ngara, Emmanuel, STYLISTIC CRITICISM AND THE AFRICAN NOVEL,
London, Heinemann, 1982
Palmer, Eustace, THE Progress OF THE AFRICAN NOVEL, London,
Lindfors, Bernth, ‘Armah’s histories’ in AFRICAN LITERATURE Now no eleven,
Mensah, A.N., ‘Style and Function in Armah’s TWO THOUSAND SEASONS’ in
AFRICAN LITERATURE Now no seventeen ed. Eldred Jones
Omotoso, Kole, ‘Trans-Saharan Views mutually destructive portraits’ in AFRICAN
LITERATURE Now no fourteen, 1984
Wright, Derek, ‘ Ayi Kwei Armah’s TWO THOUSAND SEASONS: A Dissent’
Resource by Arthur Smith