Are you a Literature-in-English student? Are you an independent learner preparing for WASSCE or any other examination? Are you expecting to answer one or more essay questions based on Amma Darko’s novel, Faceless?
I have good news for you. It is possible to find it very easy writing a high-grade Literature essay.
How? Just by familiarizing yourself properly with a small number of highly significant incidents or extracts in the text. This is why I’ve taken the trouble to assemble the following must-read extracts from Amma Darko’s Faceless for your benefit.
Each one of the extracts is related to at least one character, one theme, an important element of plot development, style, or one setting.
You can therefore use one or two of these extracts to generate, develop and illustrate significant points. Whether the question is about a character or their role you will find at least one of these extracts very useful. Other important areas are theme, style and development of plot.
Are you interested in female characters in Faceless like Maa Tsuru, Kabria and Fofo? Is it male characters that you wish to study now? Maybe you want to find out more about Kwei, Adade or Poison.
Are you looking for ways to illustrate such themes as superstition, fatherhood, domestic violence, social criticism, feminism, dangers faced by street children, weak governance, etc.?
Then you need not look any further.
How to approach the extracts
I strongly advise you to do the following in addition to whatever personal approach you may wish to apply.
- Read closely each extract an uncountable number of times. Read them so repeatedly that you can even recite some of the lines as you go about your daily activities.
- Never lose sight of the theme or themes stated at the head of each extract.
- Discuss with someone who knows the story, preferably a fellow candidate/student, aspects of each extract you consider very important. For instance, the role of a character, any element of satire, any point of criticism, a significant stage in the plot, etc.
- Set one or two questions for yourself that you think you can use the extract to answer
- And finally, read my other posts on this novel. You will find that many of them relate to this post thereby making your understanding much easier.
So here we go again.
Twice in the past I woke up in the morning and you were gone. This time it is I asking you to go. Go, Kwei, go! Go far away from here. The number five has always been in conflict with the spirit of this family. She is carrying your fourth child. Have you noticed? I shall not sit down idly and watch you go on to make a fifth child with her. I shall not allow you to bring such a calamity to bear on this family. So go away. It is the only way to keep you away from her. Go away. And this time, please, stay away for good. For the sake of us all.
Can you say whom the phrase, fourth child is referring to?
2. Condition of the street children: The dangers they face in an attempt to earn a living
Occasionally, there were police swoops which in themselves were very disconcerting. A girl could sometimes make the mistake of misjudging a very regular man for a potential client, and receive for her misdirected efforts, insults and threats, and occasionally even some slaps. Then there were the catfights between the girls themselves over a client. A few times, a girl had gone off with a client only for the body to be found dumped somewhere. A client a girl went out with could also be a “broke-man” on the lookout for some fast money. After satisfying himself therefore, with her, not only would he refuse to pay for her service but would rob her of her earnings too.
Can you state, from this extract, at least four different ways in which a girl prostitute could suffer because of her trade?
3. Condition of the street children: Unhygienic environment,health hazards, carefree and naive lifestyle in spite of deprivation
A handful of adults and a few adults were already there and doing their own thing under the scrutinizing eyes of some early rising pigs and vultures. They found a free spot. Odarley raised her dress and pulled down her pants and got straight to business. Fofo also lifted her dress and squatted. Odarley, who was observing her, shot out, “You are wearing no underpants?”
Can you point to a statement in this extract which suggests that Fofo is deprived of her basic needs as a child?
4. Condition of the street children: Unfulfilled dreams, loveless homes
“My dream,” began the boy “is to be able to go home one day to see my mother and see a look of joy in her face at the sight of me. I want to be able to sleep beside her. I wish her to tell me she was happy I came to visit her… She is always in a hurry to see my back. Sometimes I cannot help thinking that maybe she never has a smile for me because the man she made me with, that is my father, probably also never had a smile for her too.”
Can you state one criticism levelled against men in this extract?
5. Dysfunctional state institutions and weak governance
The police station … was, simply put, a sorry sight. Broken windows, leaking drains, cracked walls and peeling paint greeted Vickie and Kabria. The officer behind the outdated front desk, who seemed very bored with his world, his job and his very own self too, responded to their loud and clear greeting with a sullen nod …
Would you say that judging by this extract, the author uses detailed descriptions in her novel?
6. Effect of the harsh realities of street life on young girls like Fofo
A part of Fofo was and would always be the fourteen years that she was. But the harshness of life on the streets had also made a premature adult part of her. She was both a child and an adult and could act like both, talk like both, think like both and feel like both.
Judging by this extract, is it appropriate to say that one aspect of Fofo’s character is that she is a child of two worlds?
7. Effect of loveless homes and of the harsh realities of street life on boys like Poison
It is more difficult to break the streetness in boys from the street than in girls. Abused young males, in particular, are also more prone to becoming abusers themselves.
What one thing do names like Poison and Macho say about life on the street?
8. Unsupportive husbands and dynamic career women able to combine roles of wife, mother and career woman
Kabria often wondered which of them needed a more urgent release of tension. Whether it should be she who after having been labeled the weaker sex had to, in spite of a full time job, perform all of her traditional duties at home without an iota of relief. Every day after work, how Adade set off, en route to go and release his tension, she had to go and pick the children from school, head straight for home, change clothes, and go to the kitchen to see to dinner.
Who are being criticized in this extract: African men or African women?
9. Male perpetrators of crimes like domestic violence against the female gender
Maa Tsuru had just opened her lips to ask what was amiss when she felt Kwei upon her. He pounced on her like a cat on an unsuspecting mouse and began a vicious pounding spree. He pounded Maa Tsuru with his fists, landing the blows anywhere and everywhere and on her pregnant body. The daylight went out of Maa Tsuru. She began to bleed. Kwei grinned. He pulled her up by one arm, held her by the back of her neck and pushed her out of the house. Then he returned to Agboo Ayee and told all there that, with immediate effect they had better start calling him Dr. Kwei because he had singlehandedly and cost effectively terminated an unwanted pregnancy.
What three aspects of Kwei’s character are revealed in this extract?
10. The themes of
– fatherhood or irresponsible fathers
– role of women/feminism
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 the significant difference between the two examples I have cited is that the child in the latter case may not necessarily end up in the street to beg in order to survive, while the child in the former case is likely to. In both cases, however, the responsibility of the mother doubles. She becomes the only caretaker of the child’s emotional, physical and financial needs.
Have you noticed the author’s veiled criticism of men like Adade in this extract from Faceless by Amma Darko?
Have you also realized that this extract can be cited as one of the motifs that make Faceless a novel of social criticism or satire?