African Literature: In The Cutting of A Drink and The Return
Trent Hughes Eng 109 Paper #2
The two short stories "In the Cutting of a Drink" and "The Return" bring
different responses from me. "In the Cutting of a Drink" makes me think about
what it would be like to go into a new culture. It also makes me think about
the decline in moral values now days. "The Return" reminds me to be more
thankful for the many things I take for granted. It also makes me think about
how hard it can be to cope with change. In the poem "Those Rainy Mornings" I am
reminded of my grandma and what a kind, loving, wonderful person she is.
In Frank Chipasula's poem "Those Rainy Mornings" the speaker is talking
about his aunt Gwalanthi. The speaker tells us what a wonderful loving person
his aunt is. In the first section the speaker tells us how his aunt would wake
up at the crack of dawn and build a fire. Then she would begin cooking porridge.
In the second section of the poem the speaker talks about waking up "out of the
nagging nightmare." Then the speaker describes his aunt a little bit more, "her
soft but husky call." In the last section the speaker talks about how kind his
aunt is to take care of his brothers and sisters while his parents "strayed to
the copper mines."
This poem makes me think about my grandma and all the wonderful things she
has done for me. The speakers aunt is an old fragile woman, "hoe-broken palms"
and "scrawny ribs." But she is also a very hard worker and loving person. Both
these things remind me of my grandma. My grandma may be old and fragile but she
is still a very hard working and loving person. My grandma is always up at
first light doing household chores or working in her garden. Many times we have
to force her to go inside, so she won't be exposed to the hot sun for to long.
I can't count the number of times my grandma has made my bed, folded our clothes,
washed our dishes, or done various other household chores for me and my family.
I could never fully repay my grandma for all the wonderful things she has done.
My grandma, like aunt Gwalanthi, is a very kind, hard working person.
Ama Ata Aidoo's "In the Cutting of a Drink" is about a person relating his
story of looking for his lost sister in a big city called Mamprobi. The
narrator, Mansa's brother, is talking to his uncles in the story. He is telling
them about the things he experienced in the city while looking for Mansa. The
narrator is from the country, so a lot of the city life is new or shocking to
him. The narrator and Duayaw, the person helping him find his sister, go to a
nightclub while looking for Mansa. This is a very new experience for the
narrator. Some new things he experiences are dancing and watching women buy
beer. But the most shocking thing is when he finds out his sister Mansa works
there. "Young woman, is this the work you do?" he asked her. In the end
Mansa's reply was, "any kind of work is work."
This story made me think of a couple of things, differences in cultures or
places and a decline in moral values. When the narrator goes to the city he is
in a totally new culture. Many of the things he sees done are shocking to him.
"I sat with my mouth open and watched the daughter of a woman cut beer like a
man." "I cannot describe how they danced." Going into a new culture would have
to be a shocking experience for anyone. The comment "any for of work is work"
made by Mansa makes me think about the decline in moral values. Now days many
people seem to go by this saying. People seem to not care about what form of
work they are doing as long as they make money. Some factors to consider when
doing a job are, is what you are doing morally right or ethical, and is what you
are doing legal or illegal. Would you want your husband or wife to go to work
as a prostitute? Or would you want them to go to work as a female or male
stripper? I would hope not in both cases, the first simply because it is
illegal. The second because it is pornography and I think you should have
enough respect for your spouse to not want them to do that kind of work. So the
comment "any form of work is work" is not a way to go about finding a job.
"The Return" by Ngugi wa Thiong'o is about a man named Kamau who returns
home after being in a detention camp for five years. He hopes to see his old
village exactly the same. Instead he finds it now ruled by the British. The
British have changed the village and its culture. Worst of all, Kamau's wife
Muthoni left with another man named Karanja. Muthoni did this because Karanja
lied and told the village that Kamau had died. At the end of the story Kamau
lets a small bundle, filled with things that reminded him of Muthoni, roll down
a bank and float down the river. Then he talks about the relief he felt after
this happened. "Why should she have waited for me? Why should all the changes
have waited for my return?"
These comments make me think about change and how hard it can be to cope
with change. It also made me be more thankful for some of the things I take for
granted. When Kamau returned home he basically returned home to a completely
new village. His family had aged, many people didn't recognize him, and his
wife was gone. This was very hard for Kamau to cope with, "the old village had
not even waited for him." Kamau felt resentful and angry. I know I would have
the same resentful feelings as Kamau if I were put in the same situation. I
would feel cheated if I came home one day only to find it completely changed.
Many time I find myself taking my friends, family, home, or security for granted.
Sometimes I don't realize how important these things are in my life. I know if
they were taken away or completely changed, I would be devastated. I would not
be able to get over it as fast as Kamau. After reading this story I am more
thankful for the many things I take for granted.
All three of these readings bring out different responses from me. My
grandma is the person I think about in the poem "Those Rainy Mornings." I am
reminded of all the wonderful things she does for me and my family. In the
story "In the Cutting of a Drink" I think about the decline in moral values
these days. I also think about the what it would be like to go into a whole new
culture. After reading the story "The Return" I am more thankful for the things
that I take for granted. The story also makes me think about change and how
hard it can be to cope with change.