Houseboy Essay

1362 Words6 Pages
African literature has been widely known to deal with issues of French colonialism and assimilation within Africa, whether it be in the discourse of Negritude as with the writings of Senegalese President Leopold Senghor, or in the writings of acclaimed African writer Ferdinand Oyono. Oyono frankly and honestly addresses the anticolonialism sentiments that were becoming widespread throughout Europe and Africa through his narration of what the life of Toundi Ondoua, a young Cameroon houseboy`s life would have consisted of in the novel Houseboy. Through the use of irony, humor and satire Oyono was able to depict the life of a young African boy's struggles with and for power through his journey to become like the French Colonizers he idealized. Using these literary devices Oyono was able to present this criticism in a way that not only looked upon the hypocrisy of the act of "civilizing" a person and the negative aspects of the relationship of the Colonizer and the Colonized, but also was able to address this with honesty and respect for each side involved. Throughout the novel Oyono provides a feeling of induced nostalgia with a side of satire to help provide the reader with a sense of the world that this narrative was occurring in. From the beginning scene where Toundi is eating a traditional African meal of fish and cassava sticks (Oyono 1) to the bilaba dancers (Oyono 41), Oyono makes use of his Cameroon heritage to help humanize the character of Toundi by illustrating vivid aspects of what his life as a child may have been. Through the eyes of Toundi the reader is able to grow, learn and experience along with the character as the book progresses. Russell Linnemann stated that: As lamentable as their plight might be, Africans in his (Oyono's) fiction can still laugh, through at time between tears, at their predicaments, prick the pomposity of their
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