The Depiction of Corruption in the Beatyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Topics: Political corruption, Bribery, Poverty Pages: 5 (1841 words) Published: March 16, 2012
Corruption is one of the major themes in the post colonial literature in Africa. In the Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, this theme covers the entire book though not clearly stated. The author decided to use the symbols of filthy and rot to represent it. He gives advice to the people of Ghana and other nations about the causes and effects of corruption; he chose to use a special technique of hiding the names of the characters so that he does not conflict with government of the time. This essay therefore will look at the following characters the Bus driver, the conductor, the man, the teacher, the sleep seller, the shitman, the visitor and the allocation clerk. It will further show the significance of the names of characters in relation to the theme of corruption. Ackerman (1999:2) defines corruption as “A symbol that something has gone wrong in the management of the state, institutions designed to govern the interrelationship between the citizen and the state are for personal enrichment and the provision of benefits to the corrupt.” In the Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, this is shown clearly; the resources that are to be used for national interest are rather used by certain individuals. The driver of the old bus represents the leader of Ghana and the conductor the government officials. In the same manner the passengers give money to the conductors and the drivers for them to earn a living is similar to the politicians who are voted into power by the people. In the primary text the leaders are so much in a hurry to get rich very fast as a result they resort to corrupt practices. This assertion can be support by the utterances of the man`s wife when the she tries to advices him as it is stated in the primary text, “those who wanted to get far had to learn to drive fast, koomson had learnt to drive so faster.” The use of the word driving fast depicts accumulation of wealth fast not depending on the salary and that manner in which such wealth was accumulated never mattered. Simfukwe et al (2010:45) asserts that “some of the social causes of corruption are personal greed and dishonest which are characterized by selfishness and lack of regard for other people.” The theme of corruption is very common amongst the leadership and ordinary people as well in the post colonial Africa. Corruption in the novel amongst the government workers can be attributed to poor conditions of service, bribery is seen as a way of improving their state of affairs. Majula (2008:80) observes that “Bribes may be demanded in order for an official to do something he is already paid off to do so. They may also be demanded in order to by pass laws and regulations.” In the primary text the allocation clerk readily accepts a bribe from the visitoe whose timber was rotting in the bush due to the lack of transport. When the man refused the bribe, after he managed to bribe the allocation clerk, he then went forward to scorn the man, “you are a very wicked man. You will never prosper.” (p.107) showing clearly that those who never involved themselves in corruption lived a miserable life for their wages could not make them live a good life. The author portrays a sleep bread seller at the bus stand who asks koomson the minister to buy more bread for his girlfriends, but koomson refuses by saying that he does not have girls. This surprised the woman as she says. “Have you ever seen a big man without girls?” (P.37) .This depicts the negative effects of corruption on women. The females have lost their culture due to high levels of poverty and the only way of making money is through prostitution giving their bodies to big men who have obtained their money through corrupt ways. Women in the novel are mostly concerned with material things that do not last; corruption has disillusioned them, making them believe that money is very important despite the ways in which it is obtained. Killan, (2000:225) notes that “One of the consequences of corruption in public...
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