Let’s take a quick look at the issues which you need to raise if ever you are asked to discuss the theme of superstition in Faceless.
The society portrayed by Amma Darko in her novel, Faceless, is one that is controlled by all forms of superstitious beliefs.
The people attribute every event, particularly the unfortunate ones, to one curse or the other.
Below are instances of superstition in the novel, Faceless.
- Maa Tsuru is considered a cursed woman. The curse on her is believed to have come with her right from birth.
- Since Maa Tsuru’s curse was pronounced by her late mother on all the descendants of her father’s descendants, it goes without saying that all her children are equally cursed ones.
- The people believe also that anyone who has sexual relations with a cursed person is bound to attract the curse into his or her own life. This is the reason why the jujuman attributes the problems confronting Onko’s welding business to his sleeping with Baby T – the daughter of a cursed woman.
- The next thing the people do when they begin to suffer one form of misfortune or the other is to seek an explanation from a spiritualist. So Onko goes to the jujuman to know the cause of the recent problems his welding business has been suffering.
- It is Onko’s desperate attempts to have access to Baby T’s private part in order to take her pubic hair for spiritual cleansing that will result in the girl’s untimely death.
- Baby T’s clean-shaven body can be traced to Onko. He has been ordered by a juju man to produce the victim’s pubic hair for expelling a supposed curse he attracted by having sexual relations with a cursed girl.
- Maami Broni goes under the cover of darkness to slaughter a white fowl at the place where Baby T’s body has been dumped in order to ward off any negative spiritual consequences.
- Kabria sometimes wonders if Essie’s strange ways are a result of her (Kabria’s) failure to perform some a traditional rite following the girl’s birth at midnight.
Naa Yomo and superstition
Is it everybody in Faceless that is controlled by superstition mentality?
The simple answer is a big no.
Naa Yomo is one rare exception. She condemns her people’s superstitious ways.
Naa Yomo makes it clear to us that the only reason she and her husband were able to raise their children to become responsible adults is that, at a point, her husband chose not to be controlled by superstition and prejudice.
Effects of superstition on individuals
The effects of superstition on individuals in Faceless are too glaring to ignore. Consider the following instances of the negative effects of superstition on individual characters in Faceless.
On Maa Tsuru
Maa Tsuru, in particular, suffers social stigma as a direct result of the belief among her people that she is a cursed woman. This, in turn, has had far-reaching consequences for herself and her children
- Maa Tsuru is largely treated as a social outcast. People find it difficult to associate themselves with her.
- Maa Tsuru cannot get a good man to marry because the men and their parents believe that they are likely to attract the curse into their own lives and those of their relatives as well.
Kwei and his mother are a good example here. Thus, Maa Tsuru has to suffer the misfortune of allowing good-for-nothing men like Kpakpo to come and ruin her life.
- Baby T’s death comes about due to the belief in curses in Faceless.
Effects of superstition on society as a whole
Society suffers when most of its members find ways to attribute any occurrence in their lives to supernatural causes.
- People no longer take personal responsibility for their actions and inactions. They even lose their sense of judgment.
This is the case with Maa Tsuru. The woman has been affected so much by the curse stigma that she no longer trusts in her own ability to take wise and rational decisions. Her children suffer unnecessarily as a result.
- Superstition contributes to the street child problem society continues to face.
Had Kwei ignored his superstitious mother and remained at home to find a job that would enable him to take care of his children, Fofo and Baby T, for example, wouldn’t have to go through all their troubles.
As we have seen in this novel, Faceless, the people’s obsession with superstitious beliefs is largely responsible for most of the challenges they face.
Amma Darko uses Naa Yomo’s family to illustrate an important point.
This is it.
One way society can produce responsible adults who will be in a position to facilitate social progress is to say no to superstition.