Throughout Ama Ata Aidoo’s play Anowa, the characters of the old man and the old woman—collectively referred to as “the-mouth-that-eats-salt-and-pepper”—come on stage. They open the play with the prologue and they also conclude the play; they appear at the end of phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3. They speak the first and last words of the play, as well as the concluding scene within each phase. Because of their scenes’ placement within the play, the old man and old woman are the framers of the play’s action, as well as the interpreters of the developments within each phase.
As Dr. Valint mentioned in the lecture videos, Anowa repeatedly engages with the issue of gossip. As “the-mouth-that-eats-salt-and-pepper,” the old man and old woman are presented as the local gossips—as a metaphoric “mouth” that is always chattering. Even though the old man and old woman are never seen directly interacting with the play’s main characters—Anowa and Kofi Ako—they still have a lot to say about them. The old man and old woman comment on Anowa’s and Kofi Ako’s personalities, marriage, decisions, behaviors, and fates. But all the information they share with the audience is subjective because it is shaped by incomplete rumors, their personal biases, and their society’s traditions and beliefs.
In this discussion board, you must choose a specific passage from one of the scenes featuring the old man and the old woman and analyze how their biases and beliefs about their society’s traditions lead them to interpret—or potentially slant or misinterpret—Anowa and/or Kofi Ako. The passage you select should consist of 3-5 sentences from Anowa. This passage could be from the old man, from the old woman, or from a dialogue between the old man and old woman.
As explored in the lecture videos, Anowa is set in a specific society (that of the Fante people) in a specific time (the 1870s) in a specific place (the Gold Coast). Anowa also engages with the history of the European colonization of the Gold Coast and slavery—both domestically within the Gold Coast and as part of the transatlantic slave trade. Your analysis of the old man and/or old woman, therefore, needs to consider how their perspective is shaped by cultural and historical context. At some point in your post, you must explicitly reference material from one or more of the Week 8 lecture videos.
Possible questions to consider include:
- The old man and old woman often speak in colorful terms and figurative language. What are the implications of their specific word choices, metaphors, and similes in their commentary on Anowa and/or Kofi Ako?
- The old man and old woman often use idiomatic phrases (some examples of idioms you may know are “the early bird gets the worm” or “don’t judge a book by its cover”); however, their idiomatic phrases may be unfamiliar to you. What are the meanings of these phrases when employed in commenting on Anowa and/or Kofi Ako?
- The old man tends to be more sympathetic to Anowa and the old woman tends to be less sympathetic to Anowa; what lies behind these personal biases?
- Generally, the old man and old woman bicker and disagree with one another. What leads them to such differing interpretations of Anowa and/or Kofi Ako? Do they ever agree in their discussions of Anowa and/or Kofi Ako, and, if so, what lies behind such agreement?
- Also consider the stage directions, which are represented in italics and within brackets and indicate the movement or action of the characters while they are on stage. How do these movements relate to, emphasize, or complicate the old man and old woman’s spoken words about Anowa and/or Kofi Ako?
1) Choose a Quote from Anowa
2) Discuss and analyze the topic according to the above directions (300 – 400 words)
3) Comment substantively on at least two of your classmates’ posts
1) Quote: Your quote may consist of 3-5 sentences. A quote longer than 3-5 sentences should be condensed to include only the most pertinent sections. Please remember: the length of your quotation does not count toward your word count. Place the quote at the top of your post—before you begin your discussion and analysis.
2) Discuss and analyze: After introducing your quote, you must then discuss and analyze how the passage demonstrates how the old man’s and/or old woman’s biases and beliefs influence their commentary on Anowa and/or Kofi Ako. Your chosen passage should allow you to analyze the character in precise and specific ways—not in broad generalizations. Your critical discussion must be 300 – 400 words.
Your post must also show evidence of engagement with the lectures. Make sure that you extend and enhance, rather than simply repeat, what is in the lecture. In other words, you can’t just offer a plot summary or a summary of the relevant lectures. We—and your classmates—want to know what you think about the characters in this story, and why.
Your post should be well thought out, and relatively free of grammatical errors. Remember that you can also schedule an online appointment with the Writing Center for extra credit, getting help on your discussion post in the process. You should compose your analysis in Microsoft Word or another word processing program so that you can spellcheck your post before loading it on Canvas. Also ensure that you fully edit your post before you load it into Canvas. When uploading your final post, please cut and paste it in the text box. Please do not attach a separate Word document.
3) Comment: After you submit your post, you must comment substantively on at least two of your classmates’ posts. Your comment should be at least three substantive sentences, and you must go far beyond saying “Great job!” or “I disagree.” If you think a classmate’s post is strong, explain why you think it’s strong. If you agree or disagree with a classmate, explain why you agree or disagree. You also might want to indicate how your classmate’s post relates to your own. Do you have a similar or different approach to the text and/or to the topic? Instead, you might indicate if your classmate’s post taught you something, or made you think about the topic at hand in a new way.
Please note: rude or unprofessional comments will result in an automatic zero for your entire post. We want you to engage with your peers, but in respectful fashion.
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