“Beautiful feathers” by Cyprian Ekwensi
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In the novel “Beautiful feathers” the writer Cyprian Ekwensi introduces how power can be used to jeopardize other people’s life and how the need of good relationship is needed in a family so that every other thing can work out smoothly. The main character of the novel Wilson Iyari is a recognized pharmacist in the society and also the leader of the Nigerian Movement for African and Malagasy Solidarity but in his home he has no control over his wife. Despite the problems Iyari was facing at home he did not allow it to reflect on his work neither did he tell other people about it. Iyari’s wife, yariya called him in his office trying to dictating to him what to do when her brother comes to see him in the office but in spite of this he did not behave in an absurd manner to his brother-in-law.
He even gave his brother-in law money even though he knew that he would not be able to collect the money back from his brother-in-law (p12). Iyari is also a very dedicated man who does not care about his own life but about his society and the people around him. Iyari knew that his life was at a risk but he still went ahead trying to resolve the problem of the solidarity of Africa and Malagasy. He was arrested during the peaceful demonstration that was going on during the independence day of Nigeria and he might not have been released for a long time assuming nobody came to bail him out. After he got out of jail he still continued as the leader of the Nigerian Movement for African and Malagasy Solidarity (p83).
The main conflict in this novel is the way power relationship and class differences are used to emphasis different points. The power relationship in the novel occurred when the prime minister was in Lagos to attend a conference with the press. A lot of other reporters asked him different questions that were answered to there own satisfaction but when Iyari went out to ask his own question he was asked a lot of different questions and was mocked out of stage (p45). Paul Aremu who paid for the bail of Iyari when he was arrested during the demonstration was planning to use the power of his money to entice Iyari towards his side so he can use Nigerian Movement for African and Malagasy Solidarity to win the election against the Minister of Consolation.
Yariya who was also having an affair outside of her marital home was doing so with the senior assistant secretary in the Ministry of Consolation showed an example of how class differences can be used to rob one of his own properties. The senior assistant secretary to the Minister of Consolation robbed Iyari of his wife because of the class difference between both of them. Assuming the senior assistant secretary to the Minister of Consolation was in the same class or lower in class to Iyari, Yariya would not have gone after the senior assistant secretary to the Minister of Consolation.
The setting in the novel helped the reader to know what was going on at a particular scene, if it was evil or not. When Yariya was having an affair with the senior assistant secretary to the Minister of Consolation, they went to a room. This implies that what they were doing behind closed doors was not something to be seen out in the public. The demonstration of the Nigerian Movement for African and Malagasy Solidarity took place out on the street which implies that it is suitable for all the public to see it. The language of the story is easy to understand, this makes the story easy to comprehend and also carries the reader along when reading the novel. The story line of the novel was predictable so the reader of the novel was not kept at suspense as to what is going to happen at the end of the novel. The author of the novel used narrative description to describe every location that was used in the novel. He wrote it in a way that that reader of could visualize what was going on in the particular scene and this also made the book easy to read.
The story line of this novel relates to my society in diverse ways because my home country is Nigeria and the reader illustrated exactly what was happening in the society. The type of act that Yariya did by having an affair with senior assistant secretary to the Minister of Consolation who is in the middle class of the society is a very common thing. Wives of men who are the working class in the society have extramarital affair with middle or upper class men because of their money, the women then treat their husbands with an absurd manner. The husband of the women cannot say anything about it in public because they might lose their jobs or their life. The situation in which the prime minister did not answer Iyari’s question but instead mocked out of stage is just like the case where the politician arrange for pre conferences. The politicians arrange with the journalist to ask specific questions which would favor them.
If a press man should ask a question that does not favor the politician, he becomes very angry and he either answers in a way that will mock the reporter or even arrest the journalist. There are also a lot of people who are trying to fight against all this things in the society. They do not care about their life, all they care about is the freedom of the right and speech of everyone in the society. This compares to the situation where Iyari risked his life and was even detained because he was trying to fight for the solidarity of Africa and Malagasy. Their wives might divorce them because they do not support the risk their husband is putting himself through.
I wonder how the problem of the politicians killing and persecuting all those that does not favor them can be stopped, when all the reporters will be able to speak out their minds and ask questions from their heart and not questions that have being drafted down for them to ask. When the families of students would be happy when he/she says she wants to study communication rather than being afraid. The part about where Paul Aremu bailed Iyari out of jail but he could he say was that he would give Nigerian Movement for African and Malagasy Solidarity money so that he could win the election really interests me. I think he is a very arrogant man who thinks that all that people think about is money and that when they get the money they do not care about any other thing even their freedom. I think that everyone should be given the freedom of speech and the freedom to go anywhere at any particular time because this would really help in the development of a good society.
The novel also shows that when there is peace at home everything goes on well with your work and every other thing but while there is misunderstanding at home every other thing tends to crash up. Like when it was a day to the demonstration, Yariya took all the children and left the house without informing Iyari. Iyari was very depressed when he had of this that he just forced himself to go to the demonstration (p73). I really like the novel because it talks about important issues about my country and it is exactly is happening there. It even gives me more knowledge about some aspect that I never had an idea of what was going on and that I never taught that it could never happen. It also exposed how some dirty politicians were behaving in the society and what one is should be careful of when trying to deal with them. I think the book should be read by everyone.