Irony

IRONY

Irony is the opposite of the expected. The writer has brought to the forth several instances of irony in the text.

It is ironical for chief Odero’s spokesman. Aloo K’lima to assure the chief’s in-laws that since they (in-laws) are their brothers they would not make things difficult for them during Akoko’s bride price negotiations, they in fact make things difficult for the in-laws from Sakwa by setting the bride price at thirty heads of cattle which was two and half times the usual bride price. (pg 21-22)

Peter Owuor Kembo is Akoko’s only living grandson. He is expected to assume the chieftainship when he grows up but he develops an interest in priesthood. The writer says of him, “he who has never really known his father or the joys of father-son relationship, now dreamt of being a spiritual father of many.” (pg 127)

It is also ironical that Owuor Peter Sino expected Akoko to reprimand him and reject his proposal of wanting to become a priest and yet she accepts without any argument. She tells him to do what the spirit bids him because the world is changing (pg 126)

Irony is similarly evident when Mark Sigu tells Elizabeth, “it is easier to fight Germans and their allies than to get the courage to talk to a girl.” (pg 138) He has waited to meet her for the last six weeks and this time round he had to gather enough courage to do so.

Akoko had lost her first born son, Obura to the white man’s war. Before she dies, she regards her grandson-in-law as a replacement for her son; “She had lost one son to the whiteman’s war; and by grace of God she has gained another from the white man’s army.” (pg 149)

In defiance to a sticker stuck on the windscreen just next to the driver of a matatu Vera and Maryanne are travelling in to Kangemi, the driver over speeds. One would have expected the driver to be reminded of the effects of dangerous driving by the sticker aptly entitiled, “a speed song.”(pg 235)

Betty confesses to Vera that she loves money and all that it can buy. Despite living a lavish lifestyle, the carpet on the floor, the pictures on the wall spelled one word-money. She ends up having affairs during the husband trips abroad and they finally divorce. She lives alone with her children, well off but unhappy.

When Obura and Owang Sino die, Otieno, their uncle is supposed to assume the chiefdom but in the custody for the young Owuor Sino. He does not keep it in custody but instead usurps his nephews chieftainship. He even grabs his brother’s as well as Akoko’s wealth.

When Obura and two other men are killed in a war against the Germans on Tanganyika, the white man’s messenger”…. presented the chief with a bracelet which they said was sent by the white people as a thank you and in memory of the fallen men” It is ironical that after a selfless struggle by Obura on behalf of the whites, through which he loses his life, they can exchange life with a bracelet.

When we study the character of Vera, we discover yet another irony. She had been brought up embracing all the basic Christian values and beliefs and we expect that she can find it quite simple to comprehend and understand the existence of God. But when she becomes opposed to this belief and fails to understand the being of God given such a background, it becomes ironical.

NEXT: Local Dialect

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