Ambiguous Adventure Literary Elements

Ambiguous Adventure Literary Elements



Setting and Context

The first part of the novel is set in the Diallobé country of Senegal after colonization by the French, the second part of the novel is set in France

Narrator and Point of View

Ambiguous Adventure is written in third person but takes the point of view of the protagonist--Samba Diallo.

Tone and Mood

philosophical, lyrical prose

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist of the story is Samba Diallo and the antagonist is the western materialism exhibited by the west, as it destroys Samba Diallo's sense of identity as well as spiritualism.

Major Conflict

The major conflict in the novel Ambiguous Adventure presents itself in the form of Samba Diallo's inability to completely metamorphose the way of the west. He ends up suffering an identity crisis as well as loosing his spiritualism to the ideologies of the west. In addition, he fails his people as he is unable to take up his place within the Diallobé community until he is later killed by the Fool, who sees it as the only way to save him from the suffering of his soul.


The climax of the novel is delineated by Samba Diallo's death after being killed by the Fool. The Fool kills Samba Diallo because he feels that it is the only way to save his tortured soul from the ideologies inflicted by the west's materialism and secularism.


When the Most Royal Lady says that sending their children to the foreign school "will kill in them what today we love and rightly conserve with care," she foreshadows the fate that later befalls Samba Diallo. Not only does he suffer an identity crisis but also loses his spiritualism, the one thing that the Diallobé country sought to preserve in their children.


"The school in which I would place our children will kill in them what today we love and rightly conserve with care. Perhaps the very memory of us will die in them. When they return from the school, there may be those who will not recognize us." The words the Most Royal Lady says with regards to the effect modernization and colonization will have on their children are an understatement. The materialism of the west does more than making the children sent to the foreign school forget their people, as they forget themselves too as brought to light by Samba Diallo.


In her speech, after calling the meeting to encourage the Diallobé to send their children to the foreign school, the Most Royal Lady alludes to the occasion of approaching rain when they burn their fields and kill them in order to pave way for something with much more benefits.


In Chapter six of part one, the Knight's hallucination is described vividly: "A spot on our globe was burning with blinding brilliance, as if a fire had been lighted on an immense hearth. At the heart of this fierce light and heat, a swarm of human beings seemed to be giving themselves over to an incomprehensible and fantastic mimicry of worship. Emerging from all sides, from deep valleys of shadow, floods of human creatures of all colors were pouring in; and in the measure of their approach to the hearth, these being took up, insensibly, the rhythm which encompassed them, while under the effect of the light they lost their original colors, which gave way to the wan tint that filled the air roundabout."


In the first chapter and part of the novel, the Most Royal lady is portrayed as a guardian of the traditional values of the Diallobé people which define certain roles and tasks to women. However, her devotion to the current status and position of women in the Diallobé society paradoxically restricts women in their power to select.


In Ambiguous Adventure, Hamidou Kane draws a parallel betwixt Samba Diallo and the Fool as the two characters both end up developing ambiguous identities after losing themselves in their search for spiritual well-being. The Fool becomes an emblem of a lost identity even after he returns to his country of origin, as such, the narrator does not afford any name for him as a stress on his lack of self. Samba Diallo after his return also loses himself as he refuses to pray.

Metonymy and Synecdoche



Samba Diallo's reaction to the news that he would be leaving the Glowing Hearth is given human attributes, that is, his heart is given the ability to choke him: "At this word, Samba Diallo had felt his heart rising in his throat and choking him" (57).

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