Ambiguous Adventure

Ambiguous Adventure Analysis

Ambiguous Adventure is a story that presents the dilemma facing the Diallobé people following colonization of black Africa, particularly the Diallobé people by the French. The story in part one presents the clash of faith and culture as the Diallobé are unsure of whether to assimilate foreign rule or not, particularly, the dilemma and uncertainty of the impact of accepting colonization and the modernization of the west. This predicament is first presented in the foremost scene of Ambiguous Adventure, principally, through characters who epitomize the directive of belief, who express the abstruse circumstance in which their happenstance with the modernized west has placed them: “The question is disturbing nevertheless. We reject the foreign school in order to remain ourselves and to preserve for God the place He holds in our hearts. However, have we still enough force to resist the school, and enough substance to remain ourselves?” asked the teacher (Ambiguous Adventure, 10).

Additionally, the contradicting nature of this argument reveals the discerning dimension of the contention between faith and culture. The conflict takes on a rather grave scope, returning in words from the mouth of the Koranic teacher: “it is certain that their school is the better teacher of how to join wood to wood, and that men should learn how to construct dwellings that resist the weather … We must build solid dwellings for men, and within those dwellings, we must save God” (Ambiguous Adventure, 11).

In the sixth chapter of part one of Ambiguous Adventure, the same conflict between the order of faith and that of the apostate is rather evident as the characters, that is, the Knight and Paul Lacroix embody and exteriorize opposing principles of the two cultures: on the one hand, there is the Knight who represents a culture of belief that trusts in both “the end of the world” and also “hopes for it firmly,” however, on the other hand, we are presented with the ideology of Jean Lacroix who represents the personification of a skeptical ethos that upholds dogmatically that “the world will not come to an end” (Ambiguous Adventure, 75).

One order has a belief in a reassuring universe, while the other—the fanatic of rationalism and intellectualism—advocates for a scientifically intelligible world that liberates and emancipates them from illogical and rather childish fears.

Moreover, in Ambiguous Adventure, the aspect of hybridity is brought into light by Cheikh Hamidou Kane through the character Samba Diallo who is also the protagonist of the story. In his early stages of life, Samba Diallo forms an emblem of faith and reason. However, later in his life, he tries to assimilate both the ways of the westernized world and the aspect of faith input into him in his early life at the Glowing Hearth. Samba Diallo is engrossed in a battle of faith and reason, aware that he has to preserve his faith in God no matter what. However, as Samba metamorphosizes during his time studying philosophy in a French university, he has trouble finding himself and suffers an identity crisis—another theme that Cheikh Hamidou tackles in Ambiguous Adventure—as he is far moved from his faith. Additionally, Samba is unable to identify distinctly as one country but rather as a hybrid of both cultures, that is, an embodiment of both the faith of the Diallobé as well as the rationalism of the west.

While Samba Diallo develops a certain degree of trouble maintaining his faith during his time of ambiguous adventure, he somehow manages to resolve the conflict between his faith, the ideologies of the west, and the impact of modernization as well as colonization. This resolution of the conflict within Samba can be viewed as Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s attempt at bringing to light the theme of conflict resolution. Samba Diallo’s death after being murdered by the Fool forms a way of delivering him from his struggle, particularly after his rebuttal to live without God. The end of the novel forms an end to the confrontation and battle between the Diallobé’s spirituality and the pragmatism (materialism) of the west that formed part of the reason for Samba Diallo’s ruptured being.

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