Characters And Journey In Amos Tutuola’s The Palm Wine Drinkard And Gabriel Ajadi’s The Forest Of God Annotated Translation Of D. O. Fagunwa’s Igbo Olodumare

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

Characters And Journey In Amos Tutuola’s The Palm Wine Drinkard And Gabriel Ajadi’s The Forest Of God Annotated Translation Of D. O. Fagunwa’s Igbo Olodumare


This project work deals with a critical analysis of characters and their journey using the novels of Amos Tutuola’s The Palm- wine Drinkard and Gabriel A. Ajadi’s The Forest of God annotated translation of D. O. Fagunwa’s Igbo Olodumare.

This study tends to explore man and his adventurous life as a result of his quest. Sociological approach was adopted in this study to show that man in indispensable in the society and Journey (adventure) is essential to man. Journey varies depending on the quest of an individual coupled with determination and encouragement from people around. Characters and Journey applies to everybody in life; you and I, our quests and journeys through life void of fear.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Fiction can be defined as a true to life story or experience, written out of imagination. Fiction is made – believe in as much as it does not claim that events or character it presents are historically real.

African fiction can be defined as a true story written out of imagination viz-a-viz cultural heritage and ideas introducing characters and their environment. Most fictions especially Africans are about people and how they interact. Fiction generally presents conflicts and its resolution. Conflict can be between a person and nature but generally, it is between two or more individuals. Occasionally, conflict involves three individuals with different patterns of two – against – one.

African fiction writers choose to create ‘facts’ in accordance with the patterns of human behaviour or condition which he sets out to present. So therefore, fiction or African fiction is not false or untrue most of the time.

African writers use ‘characters’ and what the characters does or is in their work to pass their messages across and the characters take the position of the mind of the writers by acting upon the mind and the imaginations of the writer which will be the main subject of this work.

The word ‘character’ is derived from the Greek word ‘charassein’ meaning to mark wit a cut or a furrow.

Characters can be defined as fictional persons or agents who carryout the action in a story that is, they are the created being who undergoes the experiences which fiction concern itself with.

The Uvic writers guide (1995) defines characters as the persons presented in a work of narrative or drama who convey their personal qualities through dialogue and action by which readers or audience understand their thought, feelings, intentions and motives.

Character development is very important in a character – driven literature. This is a well characterization of characters with many traits in the narrative where the story does not focus on the events but on individual personalities. A well developed character is one that has thoroughly characterized with many traits shown in the narrative. He acts according to the past instances provided by his invisible traits unless more information about the character is provided. The better the audience know the character, the better the character’s development.

Characterization can be defined as the method by which an author creates or characterizes his character’s exposition, description, narration and action rarely occur in pure form, but are intermixed with one another. When an author portrays his characters almost entirely by revealing the character’s recess and turns of words without any authorial comments, he is simply inviting us to what is going on in the character’s mind as indication of his personalities. He presents the impact of action and events on character’s inner self. The internal or unspoken processes of the character’s mind and emotions are revealed inform of interior monologues.

Characters in fiction can be conveniently classified into major or minor characters, static and dynamic characters. A major character is a centre figure at the centre of a story’s action or theme while a minor character occupies the minor areas of a story. Usually a character’s status as a major or a minor character is clear on occasion. However two characters dominate a story and their relationship matter most.

Characters either remain stable in their attitude through out a story and they are called static characters or they under go personal development or changes whether through a gradual process or crises of which they are called dynamic charactersbut in any case remain consistent in their basic nature.

Journey can be defined as an act of traveling from one place to another especially when they are far apart. One can also go for a trip which is somewhat a short journey that one embarks upon. According to the free dictionary by farlex Collins English dictionary (2003) and thasarus – farlex (2003-2008), Journey is the act of traveling from one place to another; trip or voyage. According to Kemerman English Multi-Lingual Dictionary (2006-2010), Journey is a distance traveled especially over land etc.

Journeys mean several journeys to different places at each point of the journey especially when they are far away or take a longer time to get to or return.

Life is a journey; everyone is bound to travel on the path of life. People in the society embark on a journey to find solution to their problems. Journey may be a guest for knowledge, greener pasture, solution to problems etc and there is no journey or adventure without a reason and a target to where one is going. A journey embarked upon without a target is an endless journey; a journey without a map and the person is bound to get lost at any point in the course of his journey. Everyone in life has one or two thing he/she wants to achieve in life. While some may take a shorter journey to get there, others may take a longer journey to get there. So individual quest in life varies.

According to the American Heritage, fourth edition (2000 updated in 2009), Journey is a process or course likened to traveling; passage: the journey of life.

Characters and Journey which is the case study of this work in the two texts; Gabriel Ajadi’s “The Forest of God” and Amos Tutuola’s “The Palm-wine Drinkard”. These features were prominent and it is the main subject of the books. The characters embarked on a journey, one (The Palm-wine Drinkard) has the quest for solution while the other (Olowo aiye) has the quest for knowledge and a quest for an opportunity to prove himself as a powerful hunter who cannot be daunted by the awe of the unknown.

The main characters embarked on a journey meeting with different types of challenges on their way but they were not swallowed up. Each of them was able to satisfy their inquisitiveness about where they went; ‘the Palm-Wine Drinkard’, to deads’ town in search for his palm-wine Tapster while Olowo aiye, to Igbo Olodumare (The Forest of God) out sheer love for adventure and a quest for an opportunity to prove himself as a powerful hunter who cannot be daunted by the awe of the unknown.

They went, they saw and they conquered.

1.2 Purpose Of The Study

The purpose of this study is to examine characters and their journey to their respective destination in their adventurous life which is the main features in Amos Tutuola’s The Palm- wine Drinkard and Gabriel A. Ajadi’s The Forest of God and also to examine and critically analyze the journey archetype or motif used by the authors to enrich their imaginations.

It is to explore the reasons for their Journey, the challenges faced during their Journey and how they achieved their aims at the end of their journey or adventure.

Finally, it is to have a cross examination of how characters and their journeys go in line with the concept of life and the rich societal and cosmological beliefs of African culture.

1.3 Justification

This study is embarked upon because no study of this nature to my knowledge has focused specifically on characters and journey in Amos Tutuola’s The Palm-wine Drinkard and Gabriel A. Ajadi’s. This Forest of God but a lot have been written about the books.

There is no doubt that a lot have been written about the books but this topic is set to broaden human knowledge and fill the vacuum that have been left unfilled in this field of study.

Finally, it is expected that after this, literature students will have an insight and understanding about the text of different authors and the character analysis of their works.

1.4 Scope Of The Study

This research work will be limited to the selected texts by Amos Tutuola and Gabriel A. Ajadi and due to the constraints of space and time; the characters to be considered in the novels will be limited to the protagonist which are The Palm-wine drinkard and Olowo aiye in Amos Tutuola’s The Palm – Wine Drinkard and G. A .Ajadi’s The Forest of God respectively and the journey they embarked upon with few minor characters in the novels.

There will also be an appraisal of author’s creativity and the effective exploration of imagination which helped in the composition of the events and the sequential arrangement of the story(s) and a brief appreciation of the authors: Amos Tutuola and Gabriel A. Ajadi, the writers of the Palm-wine Drinkard and The Forest of God respectively, and of course D.O Fagunwa will not be left out.

1.5 Research Questions

The research questions which will guide to properly analyzing the texts for a clearer understanding are as follows:-

  1. Who are the Characters?
  2. What are the journey archetypes or motifs?
  3. What are the motives of their journey?
  4. What were the challenges faced by them in the course of their journey and how did they achieve their aims at the end of their journey?

All these are the questions that this work will be providing answers to as the work progresses.

1.6 Research Methodology

This study will be majorly based on both primary and secondary sources. The approach that will be adopted in this research work is sociological approach which will guide in vividly analyzing the texts understudy. Sociological approach applies to the society and those who inhabits in it because no work of art is written in vacuum and character exploration in any literacy text is the representation of man in the society at large. Also to show the functional relevance of characters (man) and the (life) journey he embarks upon due to his quest in the life (society).

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