October 30, 2020

The Thematic Significance of Fofo’s Dream in Faceless

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One question we cannot afford to ignore is about the thematic significance of Fofo’s dream in Amma Darko’s novel, Faceless.

So I am going to describe for you the dream Fofo had bringing out its thematic significance.

Fofo’s Dream

Fofo has a dream as she sleeps on an old cardboard at the Agbogbloshie Market.

In her dream, Fofo is happy about the condition in which she finds herself. It is a condition that is a direct opposite to the realities of her life.

For once, Fofo is living in a home with a roof over her head. As it begins to rain, she decides to do what she does while awake in her real life – rush somewhere to search for a safe and dry place to huddle closer to other kids for warmth.

Then it occurs to Fofo that she actually has a roof over her head. There is a toilet in her dream and it has a roof as well. Fofo also sees an angel watching over her in her dream. The angel even smiles with her.

In her dream, Fofo simply enters the toilet to ease herself. She doesn’t have to worry about any molestation from the street-boy bullies and Macho, their thick-set leader.

It is at this moment that Fofo feels the hands of a sexual predator on her breast.

Fofo wakes to behold with horror the reality of Poison, the Street Lord, bending over her and apparently making an attempt to rape her.

The Thematic Significance of Fofo’s Dream

The following are the major points we must note about the significance of Fofo’s dream in Amma Darko’s novel, Faceless.

The Theme of Streetism

Fofo’s dream lays bare the deplorable conditions that the street children live in. For instance, they have no roof over their heads and no decent toilet facilities.

Also, the dream that Fofo had points to the dangers that the street children have to contend with on a daily basis. The street girls, in particular, have to live with the nightmare of constant harassment from the more powerful street dwellers like Macho and Poison.

The Theme of Parental Neglect

The condition that street children like Fofo find themselves are a direct consequence of parental neglect. Absentee fathers in the Ghanaian society such as Kwei and Kpakpo contribute to the suffering and abuse that these children go through.

The Theme of Failed Governance

Clearly, the state is incapable of providing for its citizens. For many children, therefore, access to such basic social amenities as toilet, clean water and housing has remained a distant mirage.

Literary Techniques

Some literary techniques that dominate the narrative style of Faceless also come to the fore in the incident involving Fofo’s dream.

Situational Irony

Fofo’s dream is not an ordinary dream. It is a dream spiced with a great deal of irony. For example, Fofo may easily access toilet facilities in her dream; but this contrasts sharply with the reality of her everyday life.

Thus, Amma Darko, uses Fofo’s dream to draw our attention to an aspect of street life. For the street child, enjoying such basic social amenities as a toilet with a roof over it remains only a dream.

Fofo’s dream is, therefore, one more instrument of satire in the novel. The narrator has used this dream to expose the extreme levels of social injustice in the Ghanaian society.


In Faceless, the dream that Fofo had in the Agbogbloshie Market is significant in another way. It foreshadows the encounter that she will later have with Kabria and her other colleagues at MUTE.

We can look at the angel that stands over and smiles with Fofo in her dream as Kabria and MUTE. These are the saviours that will subsequently come to her rescue.

Fofo’s dream therefore plays a significant role in the development of the plot of Faceless.

The Character and Role of Poison

Here is another way in which Fofo’s dream is significant in Faceless. We encounter Poison, the dreaded Street Lord of Sodom and Gomorrah, for the first time.

Poison’s blatant attempt to sexually molest a defenceless girl in the open tells us much about his character.

  • He is so powerful that he can even commit such crimes as rape with impunity.
  • Poison uses rape as a weapon to silence anybody who may try to expose his criminal activities.

It is important to note that this is his primary motive for attempting to rape Fofo. Poison wants to intimidate Fofo into remaining silent over the true identity of Baby T’s corpse.

Final word

As you can see, Fofo’s dream at the Agbogbloshie Market is an important incident in Amma Darko’s Faceless.

The dream is an instrument of satire in the novel. It criticizes parents, families and state institutions. These segments of society have clearly neglected their duty to care for the young and vulnerable in society.

Further, Fofo’s dream plays a significant role in the development of the plot of the novel, Faceless.

It foreshadows the role that MUTE and Kabria will come to play in Fofo’s life.

Finally, this dream gives the reader the opportunity to see at close quarters the character of Poison the ruthless and powerful street lord of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Before you go …

What other things would you love to have at your disposal on this site? Please let me know in a comment below.

Thank you.

Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

View all posts by Ralph Nyadzi →

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