Ambiguous Adventure Irony

Ambiguous Adventure Irony

Fear of the Most Royal Lady

In Ambiguous Adventure, the Most Royal Lady, also the Diallobé Chief's sister is presented as being the one person that the "countryside feared" the most more than his brother the chief:

"The Most Royal Lady was the older sister of the Diallobé chief. It was said that it was she, more than her brother, whom the countryside feared" (Ambiguous Adventure, 23).

This statement is ironical given the fact that the Most Royal Lady is feared more than the chief himself. In more conceptual terms, one would expect that the chief would be feared more than any other person, given the authority that he holds over the rest of his subjects. Also, the fear of the Most Royal Lady is ironical since she is a woman and the fact that she commands a certain degree of respect brings into perspective Cheikh Kane's attempt at improving the role and position of women in the Diallobé society.

The Most Royal Lady's disgust towards the foreigner's school

After the Most Royal Lady calls for a meeting of the Diallobé people, she urges them to send their children to the foreign school despite the fact that she detested it.She says:

"I come here to say this to you: I, the Most Royal Lady, do not like the foreign school. I detest it. My opinion, nevertheless, is that we should send our children there" (Ambiguos Adventure, 42).

It is ironical that she encourges the people of the Diallobé community to send their children to the foreign school despite she herself having a certain disgust for the school. The Most Royal Lady's disgust for the foreigner's school is thus cynical, contemptuous and sarcastic.

The fact that she is willing to take the risk of encouraging the people to take the children to the foreign school, however, shows her willingness to accept modernization and the western culture as she feels that it is the only way that they can learn how "to conquer without being in the right."

The Most Royal Lady call of the Diallobé meeting

The fact that the Most Royal Lady calls for a meeting of the Diallobé people to encourage them to send their children to the foreign school forms something of an irony since she is not the chief of the Diallobé. Moreover, she encourages the people to send their children to the school despite the fact that, she, herself is not aware of the decision of the chief and the Koranic teacher with regards to the matter:

"...neither my brother, your chief, nor the teacher of the Diallobé has yet taken a stand in this matter..." (Ambiguous Adventure, 42).

Samba Diallo's Identity

Samba Diallo, having been sent to the foreign school, and also to the French to study philosophy is expected to be an embodiment of both cultures and to save his people, the Diallobés, however, Samba Diallo becomes overwhelmed with having two identities to the extent that he develops an identity crisis as he is unable to differentiate between the two:

"I am not a distinct country of Diallobé facing a distinct Occident, and
appreciating with a cool head what I must take from it and what I must leave
with it by way of counterbalance. I have become the two. There is not a clear
mind deciding between the two factors of a choice. There is a strange nature, in
distress over not being two" (Ambiguous Adventure, 151).

Samba Diallo also struggles with achieving his spiritualism until later when he is visited by the spirit of the "voice of darkness." This is in contrast to the description that the Koranic teacher has of him:

"What purity! What a miracle! Truly, this child was a gift from God. In the forty
years that he devoted himself to the task – and how meritorious a task it was! –
of opening to God the intelligence of the sons of men, the teacher had never
encountered anyone who, as much as this child, and in all facets of his character, waited on God with such a spirit" (Ambiguous Adventure, 7).

The Irony of Thierno's Comments about the foreign school

The Koranic teacher, despite being aware of the effect that assimilation will have on the faith of their children makes a comment:

"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).

This comment about the foreign school being a better teacher is ironical since the teacher is aware of the fact that the effect of accepting western materialism and culture may have detrimental effects on the faith of the Diallobé. The statement, however, serves the purpose of presenting the dilemma facing the Diallobé, particularly, the clash of faith and culture.

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