Let me show you how to go about answering an essay question on the character and role of Adade in the novel Faceless by the Ghanaian writer, Amma Darko.
The character and role of Adade in Faceless
In the novel, Faceless, Adade comes across as a typical, middle-class Ghanaian husband and father.
Like many of his contemporary Ghanaian husbands and fathers, Adade believes in the traditional notion that the role of a woman is in the kitchen and with the children. On the other hand, the role of a man is strictly to provide for the material needs of the family and thereafter go on to occupy himself with newspapers, TV news and hangouts with his buddies.
The following are the key attributes of the character called Adade in Amma Darko’s novel, Faceless.
- Adade is an adult male and a father of three very lively children – Obea, Essie (both girls) and Ottu, the only male child.
- Adade, unlike Kabria, his indefatigable wife, owns a brand new Toyota Corona which has been given him on loan by his employers.
- Adade is a married man.
This is unlike the other male characters in the novel. His wife is Kabria, the career woman at the NGO called MUTE.
- Adade is an architect by profession and, like Kabria, is gainfully employed.
This is one factor responsible for his ability to support his wife to take proper care of, at least, the material needs of their children. Adade’s family has enough food to eat; a decent accommodation, two private automobiles and the children are in school.
Both husband and wife are thus able to maintain a stable home that is spared the street-child problem dogging other families like Maa Tsuru’s.
- Adade, however, appears to care little about Kabria’s needs.
I shall promptly discuss this aspect of Adade’s character by examining his role in the development of the themes in Faceless.
The role of Adade in the development of the themes in Faceless
- The theme of uncaring husbands
Adade has, for a long time, turned a blind eye to the troubles Kabria’s car, Creamy has been giving her. The fact that the utterly broken Creamy is still the vehicle that conveys the children to and from school every day hardly moves Adade. He has blatantly refused to take action to help Kabria rehabilitate the car or replace it altogether.
The fact that it takes persistence and a good measure of stubbornness from Kabria to make Adade see reason and help her spray the car anew while maintaining the sacred cream colour attests to the careless manner many Ghanaian men treat the needs of their wives.
- The theme of feminism
Amma Darko succeeds in employing the character named Adade as a motif to decry the unhelpful attitude among many Ghanaian men toward the feminine gender. This is one reason why Faceless can be considered a feminist novel.
- The theme of fatherhood or absentee husbands and fathers
When it comes to the performance of household chores, either early in the morning when everyone must hurry to work and school or late in the afternoon when everyone has closed from same, men like Adade are virtually absent.
Adade may not be an absentee father like Nii Kpakpo or Kwei in the matter of providing for the material needs of his family. Likewise, he may not be a woman beater like Kwei or a smooth-talking irresponsible male character like Kpakpo. But Adade still is an absentee father in the matter of giving Kabria, his wife, a helping hand and emotional support.
He woefully fails to support Kabria to care for and groom the children both physically and emotionally to become responsible adults in the future.
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Adade is scarcely at home for his wife and family. He goes to work very early and after closing, he heads straight to a drinking spot to socialize with his friends and to “release tension” over bottles of beer.
Anytime we see Adade at home, he is only there physically. Mentally, Adade is almost always absent.
On most occasions, Adade is either immersed in reading newspapers or watching TV.
He rises from bed very late – a whole one hour after Kabria and the children. The long periods he spends in the bathroom prevent him from having any meaningful interaction with his three children before demanding his breakfast and then heading off to work.
We never see Adade being at the side of Kabria as she struggles with the impossible demands of Essie and Ottu in particular.
Adade is not there when Obea, their adolescent child’s actions begin to give Kabria a headache. Had Adade been by her side all the way, Kabria could have performed her motherly role more effectively for a fast-developing adolescent daughter like Obea whom we see struggling to come to terms with her maturing sexuality
Instead, Adade restricts his responsibilities to the sphere of providing materially for the family.
Adade plays no role in the kitchen, for example. He is nowhere to be found while Kabria is overwhelmed by the numerous household chores. Adade takes no interest in the duty of making sure that food is prepared for the children to eat at the right time. He is never there to help give the children good character training and parental guidance.
So, the day Kabria fails to return home early due to her work on Fofo and Baby T’s case, Adade comes home behaving like fish out of water before his children.
It is the likes of Adade that are criticized by Ms Kamame in her interview with Sylv Po of Harvest FM.
“It is not only the father who refuses to acknowledge or take responsibility for his child, but also the father with a narrow perception of fatherhood, who sees his role as fulfilled so long as he has paid the school fees, placed food on the table and put clothes on the child’s back.”
But on the whole, Adade is portrayed by Amma Darko as the better of two evils.
Adade may not be the model husband and father that Ms Kamame’s PPAG or Kabria’s MUTE are advocating. Adade may not be the kind of Ghanaian family man upon whom Sylv Po and his producer at Harvest FM will shower unfettered praises during their Good Morning Ghana Show. This notwithstanding, Adade is better than men like Nii Kpakpo and Kwei whose irresponsible actions have made single parents out of poor, vulnerable women like Maa Tsuru; forcing them to allow their children to go out to fend for themselves on the streets of Accra.
The author of Faceless has demonstrated that society would do much better in laying a sound foundation for its children if only it could, at least, have more Adades as husbands and father figures.