Anowa: Whose Fault?

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African Women Writers

Tragic Responsibility

Anowa is the second, last, and most accomplished play written by Ghanaian playwright, poet, short-story writer, and novelist Ama Ata Aidoo. Anowa was first published in 1970 and had it’s British premiere in London in 1991 (Enotes, 2013). It tells the story of a young African woman named Anowa. She is not like any of the other traditional women in the town. Anowa likes to make her own choices and lives by her own opinions. The elders call her stubborn, she won’t marry any of the sturdy men in the town, she laughs at her own jokes, listen to her own tales, and follows her own advice (67). They all believe her vision is clouded. Her mother, Badua, wishes to see her marry a man and her father could care less what she does. She ends up meeting a man, Kofi, in the village and falls in love with him. She irrationally runs off with him and marries him. She completely disowns her family and begins a life with Kofi. Over time, they fall away from each other do to communication issues and fertility issues. Due to the massive pain and heartache from the situation, Kofi and Anowa both kill each other in the end. There is debate within the text about who was at fault for the tragic ending. Many say that Anowa was the sole reason for their suicides. Although everyone in the society is at fault. Anowa’s parents, Anowa, Kofi, and the traditional society are at fault. Badua has spoiled Anowa for most of her life. She has allowed her daughter to act and think as she wishes. Badua states, “how can she come to any good when everyone is always gossiping about her?” (70). The mother is at fault for allowing her child to let her mind run free as a child and into her adolescence. She wanted her daughter to have control and then when she had it and chose to be with Kofi, her mother became very controlling and angry. As Badua complains to Osam, Anowa’s father, about her daughter not finding a husband, Osam writes her complaining off by...
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