The Trials of Brother Jero

The Trials of Brother Jero Summary and Analysis of Scene 2


Scene 2 opens in the early morning, set outside of Brother Jero's hut in a fishing village. Chume arrives into the scene on a bicycle, with Amope, his wife, riding on the handlebars. They pull up beside the hut, on Amope's command; the bike tilts to one side and Amope stops it from falling with her foot. With a "tone of martyrdom" she immediately accuses Chume of breaking her ankle, and beings to limp. Chume criticizes her complaining, and Amope responds that she is not complaining, but that he must admit "it's a tough life for a woman."

The pair continue to bicker aimlessly, as Amope continues to claim that she is not "the kind of person who would [ever] think evil of anyone" while she criticizes Chume for his treatment of her. Meanwhile, Chume unloads a bag, saucepans, two bottles of water, a box of matches, a piece of yam, two tins, a spoon, and a knife from his bicycle, placing them next to Amope. Amope snaps that he has forgotten her mat, but Chume replies that she has a bed at home and that he is late for work.

Now Amope turns toward a criticism of Chume's job as a Chief Messenger in the local government, noting that his other friends are ministers, "riding in long cars." More than exasperated, Chume flees from the scene as she talks. She continues her monologue even in his absence, explaining that she thinks he will not "make the effort to become something in life." At this point, Jero opens the window of his hut, staring outside for a few moments in meditation. He is calm until he sees Amope's back from his view. Confused, he opens his door cautiously for a better look, and realizing that it is Amope shuts the door quickly. Amope opens a notebook and goes over figures, as Jero attempts to discretely climb out the window without her notice. "Where do you think you're going?" she asks him without even turning around. He jumps back into his house.

Amope says that Jero has owed her one pound, eight shillings, and nine pence for three months, as she closes her notebook and beings to prepare her breakfast. Jero opens the door slightly and now addresses Amope uncomfortable. "I hope you have not come to stand in the way of Christ and his work," he tries. Amope circumvents his evasion, calling him a "bearded debtor" and insisting that she will not let him leave until he has paid her. Jero insists that he must go to the post office to receive the money, and goes back into his hut when Amope calls his bluff.

A woman trader carrying a bowl on her head now passes through the scene, and Amope calls out to her to ask what she is selling. The trader is reluctant to stop and asks Amope if she is buying to trader further or for herself, to which Amope replies that she must first know what the trader is selling. The trader is selling smoked fish and stops to take it out for Amope, although she says that she does not ordinarily stop before getting to the market. At Amope's request, she says she is selling a dozen fish for one pound and three shillings and no less. Amope asserts that her fish are from last week and that they smell, while the trader warns her not to ruin her luck for the morning and retorts that maybe the smell is Amope herself. Amope responds negatively, and the two trade insults as the trader packs her fish off and begins to leave. Amope demands that the trader "take your beggar's rags out of my sight," and she responds, "May you never do good in all your life."

At this moment, Amope notices that Jero has just left through the window of his hut, and jumps up. She accuses him of being a thief, questions his prophethood, and then turns back to the trader who is also gone. As she is cursing both Jero and the trader, a drummer boy enters and approaches Amope. She immediately turns toward him and demands that he leave. The boy runs, while beating insults on his drum. The lights fade on Amope who is still complaining of the "thief of a prophet, a swindler of a fish-seller and now that thing with lice on his head."


This scene establishes Amope as a powerful female character who threatens almost everyone she encounters. Jero, Chume, the trader, and the drummer boy all fear her anger and constant criticism. Although Amope curses almost everyone she meets, the audience is aware that she is very unhappy with her own life and limited options. She must depend on Chume as her husband and on Jero for his debts to be repaid; both men she feels she cannot trust. Amope is ultimately left alone in front of Jero's hut, but also alone in lack of real companionship, with no one to complain to but herself.