Our Sister Killjoy

The Stranger Abroad: Ideology and Impotence in Our Sister Killjoy

Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-eyed Squint follows a young Ghanian woman known as Sissie and her experiences in Europe. As Aidoo’s story floats from reflections on Sissie’s sexually charged relationship with a Swiss woman to the emotional letter she pens as her plane hurdles back toward Africa, Our Sister Killjoy is a complex literary mosaic brimming with social commentary. Yet while the lack of narrative cohesion and the disparate depictions of Sissie’s time abroad does not culminate in any dramatic resolution or simplistic final meaning, it is this inconclusiveness that powerfully exemplifies Our Sister Killjoy’s inability to extricate Sissie from the ideologies she so vehemently rails against. Our Sister Killjoy is not only a condemnation of the cultural values and social structures the narrative explores, but it is also a damning depiction of an eloquent protagonist whose own impotence is ultimately representative of the reader’s.

Before delving into social issues that are firmly situated in a specific cultural moment, Our Sister Killjoy opens with an enigmatic collection of sentences spanning multiple pages. Dramatically formatted with no discernible pattern, Aidoo writes: “Things are...

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