Critical commentary on 'Possessing the secret of joy'
This engaging passage taken from 'possessing the secret of joy' depicts the painful life of a vulnerable seventeen year old girl, who is forced to marry a dreadful man much older to her. The writer through this girl's life beautifully portrays how circumstances and one's status in society makes one do things they are unwilling to do, making them quite miserable. The girl named Uju, has become a victim of a materialistic and superficial world where the lower class in their desperate attempt to escape chronic poverty sometimes go to such lengths that they agree to trade their livelong happiness with money only to live a comfortable, convenient life. Apart from these themes, other themes of the passage are that what exactly is love? Is it what Ujus mother thinks it is or what uju thinks? And it also highlights the deterministic role of fate in ones life. The title of the story, 'possessing the secret of joy' is ironic and quite contradictory to the story itself. Uju doesn’t find happiness by marrying a man richer to her, but instead she is buried deeper and deeper into despair at the thought of marrying someone who is older than her and for whom her love doesn’t exist. This match however seems perfect to her mother as she claims that only money can get joy for her and for her daughter. 'Don’t you want to enjoy your life?' Thus the secret of possessing joy for Uju and her mother seem to be in direct contrast. Her mother thinks that money and wealth is the secret while Uju is convinced that it is love that makes one happy . The reader then wonders at the title that does Uju really possess joy which currently seems like a far-fetched prospect for her? Uju is disgusted by the man she marries and finds everything about him to be repelling. A repulsive simile is used by the author to describe how Uju feels. She analogizes his snore to an airplane’s revving engine- loud and irritating. His personality and his...
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